The departure of Nemanja Matic was quite shocking for many considering how well he performed alongside N’Golo Kante. To replace a player of Matic’s calibre was always going to be a difficult task and that’s why Chelsea spent whopping £39.7 million on Tiemoue Bakayoko.
On paper, it seemed like pretty good business to sell a 30-year-old for £40 million and buy a 23-year-old player for almost the same amount. However, it hasn’t been that way for Antonio Conte this season.
It’s been a season of ups and downs for Bakayoko. There is very little doubt when it comes to his abilities as a player. Physically strong, defensively efficient, powerful runner with the ball…pretty much everything you could ask for in a defensive midfielder.
On the other hand, Kante is Kante. A relentless runner and ball-winner who will always give everything in each and every game. There’s no reason why they both can’t form a formidable partnership.
In fact, they started pretty well. In Chelsea’s 4-0 win against Stoke, we saw a glimpse this powerful midfield duo. But since then – except a few games, that magic has faded away. Perhaps it has something to do with injuries.
When Kante got injured and Danny Drinkwater was still on the side-lines, Bakayoko was played alongside attack-minded Cesc Fabregas. And unsurprisingly, these two really struggled.
It’s not just injuries though. There have been lapses in concentration and indiscipline that have raised some questions on Bakayoko considering his price-tag. However, they all are premature.
Give him some time, play him alongside Kante and you’d have one of the best engines in the Premier League. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Written by Sandeep Sharma
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