AC Milan have been so impressed by Tiémoué Bakayoko’s impact this season that they are willing to pay the pre-agreed fee of €35 million to make his move permanent. This is a slight change in stance from previous reports wherein the Rossoneri were hoping to get a discount on the set price.
“He showed great character, he hadn’t started very well and had to fall into a different reality to which he was accustomed. We are super happy with him, we will try to redeem him: it will depend on the FPF and the final championship position: the Champions will count in the market but also for the enthusiasm of the group, it would be bad not to go to the Europe of the great ones for the seventh time in a row.”
-Paolo Maldini; Sport Mediaset (via Google Translate)
The other factors involved in this decision however have not changed. As Director of Football and the legend that is Paolo Maldini commented after the weekend’s news that UEFA have once again rung up his team on alleged FFP violations, Milan face a ban from European competition just nine months after they had successfully appealed similar charges — those were for the financial period between 2015-2017, the new charges are for the next two-year period, 2016-2018.
Assuming Milan can appeal these charges as well — their previous appeal gave them until June 2021 to get their finances in order — and assuming they qualify for the Champions League (they are in fourth at the moment), they will look to keep Bakayoko, who has done very well to resurrect his career on the plains of Lombardy.
From being booed at Stamford Bridge last season, to being called broken almost beyond repair at the start of this season, to becoming the best player at AC Milan alongside the magical Suso and the mercurial Krzysztof Piatek, Bakayoko deserves every commendation for keeping his head down, working hard and overcoming the challenges in his path.
He as played mostly as a box-to-box midfielder, with a few sporadic appearances as a holding defensive midfielder. While he has only 1 goal and 1 assist, his influence on the pitch has been as substantial and decisive as the great N’Golo Kante’s is for Chelsea. Often playing alongside Lucas Paqueta and Franck Kessie, Bakayoko has compensated for the defensive frailities of his midfield partners, with the former given the freedom not to defend deep and the latter lacking the ability to defend well.
Bakayoko himself has said many times that he wants to stay in Milan, where he enjoys everything from the food to the football to the weather. Now he just has to wait for both Chelsea and Milan to successfully sort out their various issues with football’s governing bodies!