One year after his arrival, Tiémoué Bakayoko is already leaving Chelsea.
For now, it will be just a season-long loan to Serie A (rebuilding) giants AC Milan, but it could turn into a permanent move should the Rossoneri exercise their buy-option. That clause is reported to be between €30-35 million, a solid discount on the €45 million Chelsea spent last summer. Milan have paid a loan fee rumored to be around €4m for the 23-year-old’s services, though other reports claim that Chelsea will be covering part of Bakayoko’s wages anyway.
Bakayoko had a rather inconsistent debut season at Chelsea, starting and finishing well, but he seems to have eroded any of those improvements this pre-season. From the looks of it, he did not impress new coach Maurizio Sarri at all, and with Mateo Kovačić coming in, was deemed surplus to requirements.
It is a bit sad to see Bakayoko fail to live up to his promise. He arrived injured, was forced into action while not fully fit, while the team and the head coach around him slowly devolved into palpable angst. Perhaps with a bit more time (or a bit more Conte?), Bakayoko might have come good. Now we might never know.
In any case, good luck, Baka! Perchance we will see you back in action at the Bridge some day soon.