Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has confirmed his intention to make his loan move to AC Milan permanent in the summer.
24-year-old defensive midfielder Bakayoko made the move to Chelsea in the summer of 2017, after the Frenchman played an integral role in Monaco’s shock Ligue 1 title triumph and run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The Blues splashed out a hefty £40 million on his signature, making Bakayoko, at the time, the second-most expensive signing in Chelsea’s history.
However, the powerful midfielder’s solitary campaign at Stamford Bridge subsequently proved a massive disappointment, with Bakayoko having looked a shell of the dominant force he had embodied whilst at Monaco.
AC Milan stint
As such, it came as little surprise when Chelsea agreed to sanction a loan move away from London for Bakayoko last summer.
In the end, the Rennes youth product made the move to Serie A giants AC Milan for the season.
However, Bakayoko subsequently went on to endure a nightmare start to life at the San Siro, with his mistake-riddled showings in front of the Rossoneri’s back-4 having seen Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso heavily criticize the once-capped international shortly after his arrival:
‘Bakayoko has to learn how to get the ball.’
‘One week is not enough to remove the defects of a player. I would have preferred to be managing older, more experienced club players.’ (Quotes via Goal.com)
In fact, claims soon mounted on the back of Gattuso’s jibe that the Diavolo were ready to cut Bakayoko’s spell at the club short.
‘The fixed thought in my mind’
The last couple of months, though, have since seen the 24-year-old undergo a rather-remarkable transformation.
Bakayoko has rediscovered the kind of confidence and tenacity that had previously seen him billed as one of European football’s most highly-regarded young midfielders, with the Frenchman having solidified himself as one of the first names on Gennaro Gattuso’s team-sheet of late.
As such, Bakayoko was questioned on the possibility of remaining with Milan for the long-term during an interview with the Corriere Dello Sport earlier today, on the back of claims that the Rossoneri will attempt to negotiate down their 35 million Euro purchase option on the midfielder at the end of the season.
And Bakayoko is in no two minds regarding his hopes moving forward, confirming that prolonging his stint at the San Siro beyond this season would mark a ‘dream’:
‘I heard what Leonardo said [about me staying permanently if Milan qualify for the Champions League]. But I’m not in a position to talk about it. It’s an issue that concerns Milan and Chelsea.’
‘Staying at Milan is my dream and the fixed thought in my mind. But I have a contract with Chelsea.’
‘Right now I just want to finish the season in the top four. After that we’ll think about it.’