Tiémoué Bakayoko has had a rather adventurous last couple years, going full circle from AS Monaco to AS Monaco, with stops and flops along the way at Chelsea and AC Milan. At Milan alone, he went from pariah to savior, before his time on loan ended in racial abuse from opposing fans (because Serie A) and personal conflict with the head coach, Gennaro Gattuso, who was subsequently sacked as well after the team’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Bakayoko was set for another fresh start this summer back at Chelsea under Frank Lampard, but an indifferent preseason put him back into the loan mixer. Rumors of PSG and Everton eventually faded away, and Monaco re-emerged as the last best resort, and the 25-year-old rejoined his old team on transfer deadline day.
Back in the Principality, the midfielder slotted straight away into the starting lineup. He’s played every minute of every Ligue 1 game since the September international break, helping the team settle into midtable after last season’s relegation fight. That’s the only thing he’s concentrating on these days, and is keen to put the past behind him.
“Playing in those two great clubs, [Chelsea and Milan], helped me develop, helped become who I am today. [But] I don’t really want to talk about Chelsea because I don’t want to get on their bad side.”
“There are reasons [why it didn’t work out]. There are things that aren’t explainable. Things that will stay between me and them. It didn’t click, at least not how I wanted to.”
“Yes, there’s a bit of disappointment, but sometimes in life there’s disappointment. But you need to carry on.”
It is quite unfortunate that things did not work out between Bakayoko and Chelsea, especially after the Blues invested heavily in him as the eventual successor to Nemanja Matic. Alas, Matic had his own plans and left a season too soon, forcing Bakayoko into action far too soon, both physically and mentally. Antonio Conte tried against all odds (and probably to his own detriment) to keep the faith in Bakayoko, and his performances did improve towards the end of the season, but the situation had already soured beyond repair.
It sounds like Bakayoko is very much done with Chelsea — or very much would like to be done with Chelsea — so all we can do is wish him good luck. Monaco do have a purchase option on his loan, which hopefully they’ll take up at some point this season.