The transfer window is closed, and yet very much open.
England may be done, but other countries are still hard at work, including Italy, where they have a week to go. That gives AC Milan a few more days to evaluate how badly they want to move for Tiémoué Bakayoko. Rumors claim that a deal is basically agreed already, with final negotiations going on only over the initial loan fee and a possible buy-option. Some tabloids even claim that the deal could be done today (Saturday).
Milan sporting director Leonardo didn’t sound that bullish when asked about the situation yesterday, but he also didn’t deny things.
“I do not deny that we are talking, but we have [limits]. We are evaluating possibilities and he is one of them. We have seven days, let’s see what happens.”
-Leonardo; source: CalcioNews24 via Google Translate
Chelsea don’t have the pressure of non-homegrown squad limits pushing for transfer anymore after sending Kurt Zouma and Michy Batshuayi out on temporary assignments, but Sarri did hint at the squad still needing a bit of a trim in his pre-match press conference. Despite getting an official shirt number assigned (No.14 again), most expect Bakayoko to be that major piece cut loose, which has reportedly left the 23-year-old “disappointed”.
Of course, Bakayoko has no one to blame but himself should this exit come to fruition. He had been working with Sarri all preseason, and played in all but one of the five preseason matches, starting the last one, against Lyon.
But combined with his mixed first season, apparently that wasn’t enough. Now, with Mateo Kovačić in the fold, too, a player who perhaps is the sort of player — a dynamic midfield dribbler who can pass, shoot, and tackle — that we had hoped to get in Bakayoko, the former Monaco standout could be best served with a change of scenery.
As a side benefit, sending him on loan (or Drinkwater) should increase opportunities for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. as well.