Tiémoué Bakayoko’s excellent adventure in Milan has turned sour in just about every way. The team’s results on the pitch have not been up to par, putting Gennaro Gattuso into the firing line. Bakayoko himself has been the target of repeated racist abuse, especially from fans of SS Lazio, who have practically escaped without any sort of punishment from the Italian federation. And now there’s trouble on the training ground as well.
According to Sky Sport Italia (via Gianluca Di Marzio), Bakayoko was one hour late to training today, arriving just ten minutes before the end of the session. Gattuso, never known for his calmness, went ballistic — he had met with the club’s leadership just the day prior, who had imparted on him their unequivocal desire to see “maximum professionalism” from the team. The Milan head coach had reportedly also been growing concerned by a perceived lack of professionalism from his squad, and decided to use the incident to lay down the law.
So instead of just punishing Bakayoko, the entire squad will receive a penalty. Starting tomorrow and until their upcoming game against Bologna next Monday, the players will be on a “punitive retreat” — a decision that has not gone down well with the players, apparently. Meanwhile, Bakayoko will also be handed a hefty fine for his tardiness.
Just a few weeks ago, Bakayoko looked all but set to stay in Milan. The team were heading for Champions League football and the Chelsea loanee was playing a key part in that. But Milan lost in the Coppa Italia semifinals and have now dropped to sixth after just one win in their last six Serie A matches.
There’s of course also the issue of the racist abuse, which had already raised doubts about Bakayoko’s future in Italy.
While the 24-year-old lateness to training is certainly not professional beaviour, the punishment meted out on the team also appears far too authoritarian. That all seems to be pointing to a swift end to Gattuso, with Antonio Conte or even Maurizio Sarri among the candidates rumored to be next in line.
As far as Bakayoko’s concerned however, he just might be coming back to Stamford Bridge this summer.