26-year-old Chelsea star eager to seal Serie A return – What should Tuchel do?

Tiemoue Bakayoko has struggled to prove himself at Chelsea. (Getty Images)
Tiemoue Bakayoko struggled to prove himself at Chelsea (Getty Images)

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Tiemoue Bakayoko open to AC Milan switch

According to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport (h/t Daily Star), Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is willing to make a permanent transfer move to AC Milan. He was on loan at I Rossoneri for the 2018/19 season but is now keen to make a permanent switch to the Serie A side. Milan would, however, ‘dictate the conditions’ regarding any potential return this summer.

Bakayoko came through Rennes’ famed academy before joining AS Monaco in 2014. Three years later, he finally moved to the Premier League when Chelsea came calling, but has since been loaned out to Milan, Monaco, as well as Napoli. Four years after signing him from the Ligue 1 side, is it finally time for Chelsea to cut their losses and offload him permanently?

Chelsea don’t need Bakayoko anymore

The Blues have had a remarkable resurgence under Thomas Tuchel. The German took over the club’s managerial helm earlier this year when Frank Lampard was sacked, and has since helped them to a top-four finish, an FA Cup final, and a UEFA Champions League trophy. He has deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation at the club which features two central midfielders.

Tiemoue Bakayoko of Chelsea and can secure a permanent transfer to AC Milan this summer. (imago Images)

And those two positions have three quality players competing for starts week in week out. N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, and Mateo Kovacic all vie for minutes under Thomas Tuchel and the pecking order is set with these three on top. There are also a number of players on the fringes of the first team that have unable to impress at Chelsea in the past few years.

Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater, Lewis Baker belong in that sub-section while Conor Gallagher (21) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (25) have both returned from their loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham respectively. Even young Mason Mount can do a job in central midfield if the need arises. So, the Blues are surely not short of personnel.

In the midst of this, there seems to be no place in the starting XI for Bakayoko. And it has been that way for a while under several managers now. He was signed by Antonio Conte and was a regular in his squad in the 2017/18 season. But things changed under Maurizio Sarri and he was loaned out for the next season to AC Milan. (h/t transfermarkt)

Tiemoue Bakayoko in action for AS Monaco.
Tiemoue Bakayoko in action for AS Monaco. (Getty Images)

Chelsea should sell Bakayoko to AC Milan

Another loan spell followed in the following campaign when he went back to his former team, Monaco, before he spent the last season at Napoli in Italy. He failed to find favour under Frank Lampard and it remains to be seen what Thomas Tuchel makes for the 26-year-old French international. But he does not have a lot of time to ponder.

Bakayoko is in the last year of his Chelsea contract, which comes as a troublesome situation for the Blues considering they can risk losing him on a free transfer in 2022. That is certainly not the ideal outcome for any club that has paid £40m to sign a player. If Bakayoko does not renew his deal, this could be the last window Chelsea have to recoup some of that money.

Chelsea signed Bakayoko in 2017, but the Frenchman never impressed in his time at the club.
Chelsea signed Bakayoko in 2017, but the Frenchman never impressed in his time at the club. (Image: Premier League website)

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The defensive midfielder is also believed to be on wages near £110,000-a-week at the West London club. Getting that amount completely off the books can help Marina Granavoskaia and co if they are interested in bringing in any new faces this season. It is clear that the Blues can cope without Bakayoko, so Tuchel should not wait for it to get too late before he offloads him.