AC Milan and Tiémoué Bakayoko had at least three, if not six or even eight months to figure out a way to extricate themselves from the two-year loan commitment made to Chelsea in 2021, but as the bell tolled for the transfer window last night, the 28-year-old very much remained a Rossoneri.
It’s been evident since about mid-January that Milan would prefer to cut short Bakayoko’s loan, and with the midfielder featuring for a grand total of 10 minutes across all competitions since, it seemed like that would be of the more obvious outcomes of the summer calciomercato. But for whatever reason, the inertia of the situation had proven too great to overcome, despite links to the likes of Marseille, Valencia, Nice, and Nottingham Forest.
In the final days, serious-sounding intentions from Newcastle United and AC Monza appeared to provide hope of a last-minute resolution, along with various combinations of contract cancelations and creative offerings, but even if there was a will to find a solution, there was no way to push one through.
The transfer windows in Belgium, Turkey, and Greece remain open, but barring a surprise turn, Tiémoué looks to be staying with AC Milan until at least January. They do technically still have a buy-option, but baring an even greater surprise turn, that’s likely to expire unexercised next summer, at which point, as things stand currently, Bakayoko will be coming back to Chelsea for the final year of his contract.