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AS Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev has admitted he would be interested in bringing Tiemoue Bakayoko back to Ligue 1 this summer, just one year after the midfield powerhouse joined Chelsea.
Vadim was asked about the possibility during an interview with Telefoot (h/t Metro), and confirmed he would welcome Bakayoko’s return.
The idea of Chelsea dumping the player after just one season is not too fanciful after the 23-year-old has struggled mightily since his move. Injuries and inconsistency have combined to render the France international almost moot in a crowded, but under-performing midfield rotation.
Chelsea have struggled in the middle since selling Nemanja Matic to Premier League rivals Manchester United last summer. Ironically, Matic was moved on to help make way for Bakayoko, who cost the Blues a cool £40 million.
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Bakayoko arrived at Stamford Bridge with a reputation as an aggressive and dynamic midfield talisman. Yet he’s lacked the positional discipline and defensive awareness Matic displayed alongside tackling machine N’Golo Kante when Chelsea won the title last season.
Instead, Bakayoko’s reckless wanderlust has left Chelsea outnumbered in the middle, while reducing the protection in front of manager Antonio Conte’s three-man defence.
Criticism of the player’s performances has been frequent. Back in February, former Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend bluntly told BBC Radio 5 Live (h/t Callum Vurley of the Daily Star) Bakayoko “hasn’t got to the levels that are required.”
In fairness to Bakayoko, injuries have also prevented him from showing his talent and getting used to life in England’s top flight. He’s started just 20 league games, while producing three goals and as many assists across all competitions.
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Manager Antonio Conte defended the injured Frenchman in March, per Vaishali Bhardwaj of the London Evening Standard: “About Baka, he has the right personality to become an important player for Chelsea. I hope in the present but, for sure, in the future.”
The bigger question is will Bakayoko be given long enough to realise his potential in west London? Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas are the names he must overtake.
Meanwhile, Conte’s future is in doubt, as MailOnline’s Kate McGreavy recently reported Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique are on a shortlist of candidates to replace the Italian this summer.
Aside from Conte possibly moving on, Chelsea may find an offer from Monaco to re-sign Bakayoko too tempting to refuse, especially if it came close to what the Blues paid back in 2017.