It’s tough to recall a more frustrating, drawn-out signing than Tiemoué Bakayoko’s. Sure, there have been similarly frustrating sagas that ended, predictably, in disappointment, but there have been very few that dragged on this long and actually ended in success. Which this one, for all intents and purposes, appears to be already, with the 22-year-old passing his medical Friday morning at Cobham according to multiple reliable sources.
Tiemoué #Bakayoko a passé la visite médicale à Chelsea ce matin, règlement de derniers détails entre Chelsea et le joueur. Signature ce soir— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) July 14, 2017
And yet, still no announcement, still no official confirmation, and Bakayoko himself may even be back in Monaco at this point due to “personal reasons”.
Nothing. Official announcement soon. Baka is back to Monaco for personal reasons.— Francois Piraux (@F8Piraux) July 14, 2017
Of course, Bakayoko’s overt trolling on social media, changing the geotags on his suddenly all-English tweets to Manchester or Heathrow (he usually posts in French) and deleting posts on both Twitter and Instagram once the Chelsea Twitterati had been appropriately whipped into a frenzy, isn’t helping. Granted, it doesn’t take much to freak people out on Twitter, but still, some of this is pretty childish/hilarious/boring (delete as per personal preference).
The one thing that we can be certain of is that Bakayoko was in fact at Cobham on Friday and even had a chat with Antonio Conte. There is picture proof of this, so unless someon dressed up as the Chelsea head coach and/or as Bakayoko, this actually happened.
“Set to sign five-year Chelsea contract on Saturday”, says Goal journalist Julien Quelen, putting the final price at €42m and some add-ons, which matches the previously rumored £40m agreement. But Bakayoko’s been set to do many things since rumors first started in December and then again, in earnest, in May and nothing’s gone easy or as expected. Tough to have confidence in the final step going according to plan when almost nothing has gone according to plan so far.
Too much people around Tiemoue Bakayoko... They all want money in the transfer. #CFC— Francois Piraux (@F8Piraux) July 14, 2017
To be clear, Bakayoko is a Chelsea player like I said earlier. Just, it was so long and complicated because of his environnement. Bye. #CFC— Francois Piraux (@F8Piraux) July 14, 2017
If you cast your mind back to late May and early June, the big story was that Chelsea were growing frustrated with the “number of intermediaries in the deal” that we were trying to wrap up quickly. After a brief detour towards Corentin Tolisso, who probably had no desire to join any team other than Bayern Munich, which he did not long after, Chelsea were back to playing the waiting game with Bakayoko.
Chelsea are frustrated with negotiations for Tiemoué Bakayoko because of the number of intermediaries in the deal https://t.co/SS2sVrWQlx— Get French Football (@GFFN) June 2, 2017
It would appear that these meddlers had not gone away. According to report by Bilel Ghazi in L’Equipe, some of them even showed up in the middle of yesterday’s dealings to muddy the waters once again. According to the report, these were “representatives” hired by Bakayoko’s family and entourage to supposedly help “facilitate” the transfer, but of course that just means extra hassle, extra negotiations, since they undoubtedly all want a cut. Initial reports claimed that it was Monaco who were trying some shenanigans, but as it turns out, it was all these other “agents” and “helpful” family members. This is hardly a unique situation in professional football, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Those "representatives" were agents, French and English, hired by Bakayoko's entourage to facilitate his transfer— MunegUK (@MunegUK) July 14, 2017
tbh we know that Bakayoko has issues with relatives (his brother mostly) trying to get in the way constantly, so that's not surprising— MunegUK (@MunegUK) July 14, 2017
Is it any wonder that this thing is taking forever?
On the plus side, everything does appear to be sorted, finally. As further “proof”, here’s (supposedly) Bakayoko’s PR agent being congratulated for the signing of her client with Chelsea.
Tout est réglé pour Tiemoué Bakayoko à Chelsea! Pour preuve, son attachée de presse est félicitée par sa tante pour le transfert... pic.twitter.com/Qm6sqLkEC8— Bilel Ghazi (@BilelGhazi) July 14, 2017
Now we just need to film the requisite cringey announcement video and get on with our lives.