Oh, Bakayoko. Bakanono. Bakayesyes? No one seems to have any real idea what’s going on.
Some, mostly trustworthy sources claim that there’s nothing to see here, really, just some lingering pain after Bakayoko had surgery on his knee at the end of last season. Various sources describe this keyhole surgery to “clear up” some issues as “routine” or “minor” but his recovery is apparently going slower than expected, causing the latest two-week delay in his Chelsea medical. But now that medical “should” be happening this week.
Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko of @AS_Monaco to have medical @ChelseaFC - player close to signing, deal could be worth between £35-£40m.— Jim White (@JimWhite) July 10, 2017
And while reports in France have claimed that Bakayoko could be out for two more months, the Telegraph reassures that “Chelsea believe reports from France that he could miss the first eight to 10 weeks are extremely pessimistic and do not expect Bakayoko to be that far behind”.
Tiemoue Bakayoko does not require a new operation and hopes to complete his Chelsea medical this week after a delay over a knee injury— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) July 10, 2017
With everyone watching London’s airports for Bakayoko’s arrival, the 22-year-old posted a picture of himself getting on a private jet earlier this morning, but without any hint of where he’s going. This has sent at least one enterprising Twitter user down a rather Sherlockian path. (h/t @Nickplay)
Assuming that Bakayoko was flying out of Nice, the closest major international airport to Monaco, Twitter user @hazardinstinct used FlightRadar24 to find the only private jet flight out of NCE this morning. Turns out that plane was headed to London-Stansted. So far so good.
Only private flight out of Nice today just landed at Stansted. Bakayoko likely to have just landed going off his Instagram earlier pic.twitter.com/KU0mFtQr28— Hazardinho (@hazardinstinct) July 10, 2017
Of course, Bakayoko has flown to London before only to then continue on to New York City. And other reports claimed that Bakayoko wasn’t in Monaco at all, but rather at Clairefontaine near Paris.
And an increasing volume of reports over the weekend have claimed that Manchester United would utilize the delay over his medical to jump and gazump Chelsea once again.
Those reports all started from random gossip in The Sun, but have grown into semi-legitimate claims through constant repetition in the Twitter echo chamber feedback loop. ‘Tis the trouble with fake news.
That said, the Mail’s Matt Barlow has now climbed aboard this train as well, claiming that United are “prepared to pay” 40m for Bakayoko. Chelsea already have an agreement with Monaco but at a lower price — or so we thought — and Monaco are apparently willing to throw that out and/or want more money now. It’s all rather vague and scaremongery, but it’s a thing that looks good in a headline. None of the reports claim that United have actually submitted a bid, it should be noted, with the Guardian specifically denying it, even.
Manchester United set to outbid Chelsea for Bakayoko https://t.co/qQaZJiw8Ym— Matt Barlow (@Matt_Barlow_DM) July 10, 2017
Chelsea shut the door on Costa and battle to get Bakayoko deal over the line with Monaco getting impatient. Morata targeted #cfc https://t.co/kAKKyhOKAu— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) July 10, 2017
Meanwhile, Nemanja Matic, whose fate may be intricately tied to Bakayoko’s was at Cobham for the first day of pre-season, but did not take full part and was training on his own in the afternoon. That’s a fairly standard move for someone who’s expecting to leave. And as tempting as it may be to keep Matic as some sort of “punishment” for the Lukaku coup, that’s not a very mature way to conduct business.