Marcelo Bielsa signed Michy Batshuayi from Belgian side Standard Liège. Bielsa obviously saw great potential in the player, but he could only feature sporadically due to Andre-Pierre Gignac being in such impressive form. Even then, Batshuayi scored seven goals in the league (in 881 minutes). That is absolutely incredible for a young striker.
Andre Pierre Gignac’s departure was naturally met with a lot of criticism as well as worry from the Marseille faithful. “Big Mac” played a major role in Marseille’s title challenge, which faded out, and eventual top four finish.
The problem was only made worse as Marseille let go of Andre Ayew and Dimitri Payet among others. The fact that the club didn’t have enough funds to invest too well in the summer only compounded problems. Where will the goals come from?
Fortunately for them, the young Michy Batshuayi has proven that he is a player with massive potential, and one who could be relied upon.
The Belgian international has scored eight goals and grabbed three assists so far. This means that the youngster has played a part in 11 of Marseille’s 18 goals in the league this season. In total, the player has 10 goals this season.
His strike against Italy meant that Michy had scored seven goals in his last 11 appearances for club and country.
Marseille struggling – Batshuayi flying
It is no secret that Marseille are struggling heavily this season. The drastic summer left them in a tricky position. The only good thing they had going for them was that Bielsa had decided to stay but problem with the management meant the talismanic coach also parted ways. Real Madrid legend Míchel has taken over the reigns and done a decent job so far. But the side still looms in a non respectable 13th place.
For Marseille to hope to qualify for next side’s Europa League by virtue of finishing fourth, Batshuayi will play an absolutely crucial role. Of course, at a time where he needs to develop his game, the added pressure is not a favourable thing (ask Raheem Sterling).
However, the fact that at 22 years of age, he is an absolutely indispensable player in the Marseille team could also be doing wonders for his confidence.
Not only that, playing every week is good for the development of his raw potential and to play every week for a big club like Marseille, in the historic sense at least, is definitely a feat that would give him pride.
Interest in his services
There are big Premier League clubs reportedly chasing the player. Despite rumors not being trustworthy, it is not surprising to hear the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea wanting to sign the Marseille player.
EPL clubs have seen Anthony Martial doing exceedingly well upon his arrival, something that can only give them more confidence to pursue this deal.
Club president Labrune recently said, “There is not a single top 15 world club that is not interested in Batshuayi. He is one of the most wanted players on the market. There were a lot of offers for him this summer, but he did not want to leave. He is proving himself on the pitch. And if clubs want him then they are going to have to pay up. Around €50m!”
It is absolutely essential that Marseille do everything in their capacity to ensure they don’t lose the striker this winter, even for €50m. This might seem like a bizarre thing to say but it is true. The Phoceens can’t lose Michy at this moment.
They don’t have a back-up for the player and losing him will create an even bigger gulf with the disgruntled fans.
Must be kept
Marseille must keep hold of the player till the summer. They might cash in on the player — he can get them a lot of money if he continues to play the way he has this season — to recharge the squad that definitely needs that replenishment, but at the same time, they must ask themselves how successful they can be in the country if they lose their best players every season.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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