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AC Milan will not exercise Tiémoué Bakayoko buy-option — report

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The 24-year-old midfielder is set to return to Chelsea

It’s a decision that’s been brewing for a while now, but according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, writing for CalcioMercato, it’s now been made and all but confirmed. Tiémoué Bakayoko will not be staying at AC Milan beyond this season and will return to Chelsea, at least for the time being, as the Rossoneri pass on the €35m buy-option that was included in his loan contract.

The reasons for this decision are multiple-fold, and Romano runs through the whole lot in his report, but the biggest reason is most likely competitive.

While Bakayoko has continued to play an important role for the club even after his recent bust-up with the head coach, Milan are barely hanging on to their Champions League hopes and are probably going to finish outside of the top four. Milan had confirmed earlier this season already that a seat at the European big table was the absolute minimum that needed to happen in order to even begin to think about keeping Bakayoko.

So no happy ending for Bakayoko in Milan, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be at Chelsea next season. Romano says there’s interest from other leagues already, though Chelsea are waiting for an official decision before moving ahead with any potential negotiations.

Too bad this couldn’t quite work; the Bakayoko redemption story was one of the best feel-good loanee stories of the year (at least until all the racist assholes entered the picture).