Following a strong finish to the 2016-17 season and good showings in pre-season, Michy Batshuayi found renewed hope of being able to make his mark at Chelsea after a largely lacklustre first season. Rumors of a potential loan move mostly disappeared, and the youngster looked set to be the primary backup to Chelsea’s record signing, Álvaro Morata.
Morata, who’s actually not much older than Batshuayi, has been an instant hit, scoring at just about a goal-per-game pace despite taking a while to get to full match fitness and still being in the process of learning Conte’s system. Meanwhile, Michy put in a couple poor performances when given the chance to start, and despite his heroics against Atlético Madrid, was not trusted to be Morata’s direct replacement after the striker was forced off early against Manchester City with an injury.
Conte’s decision to use Willian instead Michy was roundly questioned, and it also reignited rumors about Batshuayi’s future. So just as in the summer, and last January, we’re once talking about a potential loan move for the 24-year-old. The two previous times involved a potential Fernando Llorente signing as well (which prompted Eden Hazard to advise a loan move as well), though the former Juventus veteran has since signed with Spurs, so that’s no longer a possibility.
Still, the rumors needed addressing, so here’s Michy to explain the Hazard comments and reaffirm his commitment to Chelsea.
"It was friendly advice. When [Eden] said that, he thought a third striker [in Fernando Llorente] was going to come, but in the end, there's only two of us for one place. I want to succeed at this club and my relationship with Álvaro is very healthy.”
"I don't want to leave during the next transfer window, because we're going to play a lot of games and I will certainly get an opportunity."
As it usually happens, much psychoanalysis has been done after Conte’s “snub” of Michy last weekend, but the man with the strong Twitter game is saying all the right things about the rest of his game as well.
"What disappointed me was our defeat to Manchester City, not my personal situation. The coach congratulates me often because he knows my commitment on a daily basis. Thanks to him, I have progressed tactically.”
"Before, I didn't think about all that, but I've progressed... just like the rest of the squad. In terms of self-discipline and motivation, I'm also stronger."
-Michy Batshuayi; Source: DH via ESPN
The injury that forced Morata off on Saturday is likely to keep him out for several weeks, which is an unfortunate prospect for Chelsea, but is possibly a great opportunity for Michy. Incidentally, Michy is also set to start for Belgium on Saturday against Bosnia due to a minor ankle injury picked up by Romelu Lukaku.
Batshuayi has already vowed to make the most of his chance(s). So say we all.