Tiémoué Bakayoko is not the only 24-year-old Chelsea midfielder currently on loan in the Serie A who wants to stay there permanently after this season.
Mario Pašalić, who actually had played a season for Bakayoko’s current team, AC Milan as well a couple years ago, is currently doing quite well for nearby Atalanta (based in Bergamo, which is about an hour’s drive east of Milano), and wants them to pick up his buyout option. Pašalić’s buyout is set at just €15m, which should not be a problem for La Dea, unlike Bakayoko’s €35m, which is proving a tougher proposition over in Milan.
“I want to stay at Atalanta. I’ve played for six [different] teams in six years, but I’m very well in Bergamo”.
-Mario Pašalić, source: Tuttosport via CalcioMercato
Since signing from Hajduk Split in 2014 for £3m, Pašalić has played for Elche (La Liga), Monaco (Ligue 1), AC Milan (Serie A), Spartak Moscow (Russian Premier League), and now Atalanta (Serie A again), racking up nearly 200 appearances in total and even collecting 8 caps from the Croatian national team. He’s spent a few preseasons with the Blues, but otherwise has been just one of the many anonymous faces in the Loan Army.
It’s time for him to move on — he had intimated as much as the start of the season, too — with or without new FIFA regulations coming in to prevent exactly these sorts of hamster-wheel-spinning signings and loans, so hopefully Atalanta will indeed pick up their option. Pašalić has been a fixture in their midfield all season as they flirt with European qualification once again.