With Chelsea ready to spend £200 million this summer to make their title-winning squad even more competent, a midfielder is high on Antonio Conte’s wish list. They have been linked with a number of top midfielders from around Europe but none more than AS Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayako.
The midfielder has been gathering a lot of interest from all corners since his rise with the Gallic outfit as he has been one of the crucial players for his side’s first league title win since 2000.
Monaco will be expecting bids for all of their valuable assets after their players impressed on the domestic and European circuit as well. Bakayako – their midfield general – has been looked at by Conte and Chelsea with the club ready to meet his valuation of £43 million.
The likes of Bayern Munich and Juventus are also interested in the midfielder but Chelsea seems to have already started the negotiations with Monaco as Bakayako is expected to be the Blues’ first signing of the summer.
Bakayako has played in a staggering 46 games for Monaco this season and has impressed the most in his 10 appearances in the Champions League. Though he is not much of a goal threat which is evident by his goal tally of just 2 goals this season, his defensive stats are up there with the best.
He averages 2.3 tackles per 90 minutes and also 2 interceptions per game which are a testament to his fine performances in his adopted position. (Stats via Whoscored)
What’ll he offer the club?
Bakayako was a box to box midfielder when he began his career but was made to play in a shielding position when he arrived in Monaco three years ago. Standing at six feet height, Bakayako is strong in the air and looks like a perfect fit for the physical nature of the Premier League.
He uses his body well to stop the opposition from attacking their box and also has the talent of dribbling past players in tight spaces. Bakayako has been an engine in the midfield for Monaco this season and with Chelsea being the front-runners for his signature, a partnership of N’Golo Kanté and Bakayako would be like seeing two midfielders who are currently in the prime of their footballing abilities playing together in an organised counter-attacking team at Stamford Bridge.
Worth the money?
Though the suggested fee looks a bit over the top for a player who has arrived on the big stage just a season ago, this is the nature of modern football world at the moment as Chelsea must shell out over £40 million for a man who can be a direct upgrade on Nemanja Matic.
The club hierarchy seem to have made up their mind on signing the Frenchman to bolster their midfield but in my opinion, Chelsea should look to sign the available Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain rather than Bakayako.