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Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic was puzzling.
The Serbian’s stellar form for Manchester United increased the questioning of the decision. United look every bit a perfect Jose Mourinho side this season, and Matic has played as significant a role in that as anyone.
Having won two titles in three seasons with Chelsea, his departure left a gaping hole in the middle of Chelsea’s midfield.
N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas are not a pairing Chelsea can rely on. A new signing was a necessity once it had become clear that Matic was on his way out. That man was Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Although unavailable at the start of the season through injury, the former AS Monaco man has dominated matches. He has gelled into a formidable partnership with Kante, and enlisted himself amongst the fan favourites with the The Shed.
Reading the opposition’s decisions almost telepathically, carrying the ball out of trouble and spreading the play with ease, Bakayoko has provided glimpses of the complete midfielder. His performance at Atletico Madrid in midweek was his best yet.
Though Matic was unfairly derided at times, Bakayoko gives Chelsea an extra impetus in the middle third. He and Kante are the ideal duo for a Conte midfield.
One of the signings of the season
Chelsea’s summer transfer window was not laced with the drama and excitement that the two Manchester clubs provided, but in Bakayoko they have made one of the signings of the season.
When watching the Frenchman patrol the middle third, it’s easy to gloss over the fact he is only 23-years-old. If he continues to develop as he has in the last 12 months, Bakayoko will quickly enter the discussion as one of the world’s best midfielders.
The Blues picked up one of the underrated jewels in Monaco’s crown.
Memories of Matic are fading fast at Stamford Bridge, and there is no doubt Chelsea’s midfield is stronger for their ruthlessness over the summer months.
Written by Sam Cox
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamRCox_
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