Over the last couple of seasons, there has been some turmoil in the Chelsea camp and one of their star players has revealed how it has affected his career.
When Chelsea shelled out around £40m for Tiemoue Bakayoko, there was an air of expectation around him. But his time at London didn’t go as planned for the French international. The midfielder was quickly demoted to the bench. And just after a year, he was loaned out to AC Milan. After struggling initially, it seems that he has managed to pick up form and has slowly endeared himself to the Rossoneri. Now, he has come out and spoken about his torrid time at Stamford Bridge.
“It was unpleasant”
Bakayoko spoke to Calciomercato about how his time with the Blues had unravelled.“I left Chelsea because I felt that the club did not want me anymore,” the midfielder explained.
“Of course, I was sorry. I’ve been there for a year, it did not go as I had expected. It was a simple and difficult decision at the same time to be taken because Chelsea are Chelsea and I do not think I have shown my skills, so it is unpleasant.”
So what happened to Tiemoué Bakayoko at Chelsea? He was taken out of an environment where he could excel and dropped into a midfield he plainly isn’t suited for. It’s really that simple.
At Monaco, Bakayoko and Fabinho formed a formidable duo in the centre of midfield. Both basically used as a base to win the ball and spark attacks by either driving forward or handing the ball over to one of the team’s more creative players. As far as creativity itself went, or even just advancing the ball through passing, it wasn’t Bakayoko’s job.
This gives you an idea of Bakayoko’s usual position on the pitch for Monaco in 2016/17; quite deep and with a general requirement, or ability, to occasionally pass the ball forward.
But the team around Bakayoko had changed drastically when he joined the Blues. Not only did Chelsea see more of the ball than Monaco, but Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 made the centre of midfield much larger. This meant that Bakayoko could no longer easily offload the ball to more attacking players with simple sideways passes.
Even at Milan, the 24-year-old didn’t get going from the off. In fact, it was so bad initially that Gattuso had some strong words for the ex- Monaco man.“He must learn some basic things like how to receive the ball,” the Rossoneri manager told Corriere dello Sport. “One week is not enough to fix the flaws.”However, it seems that he has worked himself back into the eleven and is rightfully gettign a lot of praise from the Milanisti.