Tiémoué Bakayoko has returned to Monaco two years older, two years wiser, though perhaps not two years better after a season spent at Stamford Bridge and a season spent at the San Siro, neither of which convinced unequivocally, even if the latter went far better than the former.
But the 25-year-old believes that those two years have improved him measurably, and he’s ready to show his former team what he’s learned in his 85 appearances during that time.
“There was a good opportunity to come back here in a very good project. Lots of people will perhaps say that I am taking a step back by coming to Monaco but I see it differently.
“My two experiences abroad allowed me to play a lot, contrary to what a lot of people have said. My season in Milan brought me a lot in terms of new avenues of football and professionalism. I have taken a lot of positive things away from it.”
Bakayoko might claim it’s not a step backwards, but it’s hard to see it as a step forwards. Let’s call it a draw. Sideways step it is!
Still, there is potential for good things to happen, both on a club level and perhaps even as far as the French national team. His loan does include a €35m buy-option in case the 1-2 step slides forward after all.
“The club is what is important today. I do not think about my personal ambitions. I want to try to perform well on the pitch to help the club reach its objectives.
“Les Bleus, I think about it, but it will come as and when. I come back with a new standing, I really want to bring to this group what I have learned and to try to transmit more confidence here.”
-Tiémoué Bakayoko; source: Metro
Solid attitude but first things first: he’ll have to help get Monaco out of the lower reaches of the league table after they barely avoided relegation last year (by 2 points) and currently sit second from bottom with just 2 points from the first 4 games of the season — in three of which they’ve had a man sent off, including Cesc Fàbregas just 30 minutes into the first.