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Bakayoko reaches next level Milan midfield mastery and praise

Bakayoko collects another Man of the Match performance at AC Milan

The resurrection of Tiémoué Bakayoko continues at AC Milan, as the former problem-midfielder and worst signing ever made it back-to-back Man of the Match awards this weekend and has reached a new level of praise from all observers, fans, media, and head coach alike.

Bakayoko 6.5: sumptuous master of the midfield. Player totally rediscovered.

-source: Calciomercato

But fans and media can be fickle; it’s the praise from head coach Gennaro Gattuso that’s most meaningful in its 180 degree turnaround from the start of the 24-year-old’s loan spell at the club.

“The biggest surprise is seeing how he has improved in reading situations during the game on. On a tactical level, I’m surprised. He completely bought into the things we showed him on video.”

“It was also nice to see the appreciation from the fans as well. With my [assistant manager Luigi] Riccio, I said that it seemed like we were watching [Marcel] Desailly, and maybe Bakayoko is a bit more technical.”

-Gennaro Gattuso; source: Forza Italian Football

Surely, vindicated as he may feel for sticking by his man, Gattuso’s going just a bit overboard here by putting Bakayoko on the level of — or even on a higher technical tier! — than the legendary Marcel Desailly, one of the greatest defensive players of all time (whether in defense or defensive midfield)!

“Bakayoko’s biggest surprise is his improvement on a tactical level. We knew the physical abilities he has. I like for how he listens, for how he moves.”

“You are seeing a Bakayoko who closes more lines of passage, impacts more and pinches forward. It’s what he missed earlier, today he does not touch it more than twice, it’s an important sign.”

-Gennaro Gattuso; source: Calciomercato

Even though Bakayoko had some terrible games for Chelsea — that two-match sequence against Bournemouth and Watford comes to mind — his performances towards the end of last season gave hope that he may yet fulfill the promise that led to Chelsea paying £40 million to AS Monaco for his services.

Having rediscovered that promise, perhaps Milan, too, may yet be convinced to shell out €35 million of their own money, to activate the buy-option included in Bakayoko’s loan contract.

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