Has Tiemoue Bakayoko ruined his chances of a permanent AS Milan move?
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Any footballer who starts a game on the bench would be delighted to get on the pitch as a substitute, right? Tell that to Tiemoue Bakayoko.
AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso wanted him to replace Lucas Biglia in the first half of the match against Bologna. Instead of gleefully stripping off and taking his place on the pitch, however, the Frenchman promptly told his boss to ‘f**k off’, apparently not ready to come on.
It is thought that Bakayoko, on loan from Premier League Chelsea, was dropped as punishment for arriving late to training last week. He was clearly unhappy at this decision.
The manager played down this incident, insisting that “we have settled our differences and he has apologised to the team. Everything is back to normal with him,” according to Goal.com. It seems the gaffer was wrong and there is still some underlying tension there.
Gattuso, known for having a fiery attitude himself, did not respond at the time, instead, calling upon Jose Mauri to replace the Argentine. Still, it was a shocking incident, especially considering the productive and encouraging season that he has enjoyed in Italy.
A fresh start
Bakayoko joined Chelsea in July 2017, the Blues paying a princely sum of £40million for the defensive-midfielder who had played a key role in AS Monaco’s title-winning 2016/17 season.
At first, he impressed despite being fast-tracked into the side while not fully fit, but things soon went south. He endured a difficult campaign and was often singled out for criticism in a season to forget for both the player and the club.
Having failed to adequately replace the departed Nemanja Matic and following the arrival of Jorginho last summer, his Chelsea future looked bleak. He was offered a lifeline by a loan move which took him to Milan, though, and it’s proven to be a fruitful deal.
The 24-year-old isn’t one to register regular goals and assists. Instead, he is a powerhouse who soon established himself as a regular in the Milan midfield, forming a good relationship with the Ivorian Franck Kessie.
Bakayoko’s form has been so impressive that Gattuso has consistently sung his praises all season, and Milan director and defensive legend Paolo Maldini has stated that they plan to try sign him permanently in the summer. But will this latest incident change that?
A Milan Bak-track?
The powers that be at the San Siro will have concerns over his attitude and must think long and hard about this decision. Being late for training is one thing, but the player’s reaction to his punishment was shocking.
Milan are wrestling with Financial Fair Play issues and, because they aren’t Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, face UEFA sanctions should they fail to balance the books. This means their spending power will be limited, so they must invest what they can shrewdly.
The reported clause to make the loan permanent stands at £30m. Considering his Serie A form this season it seems like a wise investment on paper, but it’s a large investment and throwing that much cash at a player willing to tell his manager to do one if he doesn’t feel like playing seems a risk.
The Frenchman’s future is still very much up in the air. Will he stay in Italy, return to Chelsea to fight for his place or move on to pastures new? After his shocking showings in his season at Stamford Bridge, Blues fans will be hoping it’s anywhere but their corner of south-west London.