Chelsea are finalising a deal for Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko for a reported £35 million. The 22-year-old was a key member of a Monaco side that won the French championship last season, but its is quickly being dismantled as the club cash-in on their best players.
The defensive midfielder has been with Monaco since 2014, and in March of this year made his French senior international debut. Tiemoue Bakayoko is another in a long line of bright, young players that have come through Monaco only to be moved on. The tough tackling midfielder should fit in well at Stamford Bridge as he takes the place of Nemanja Matic, who is set to leave the club for a second time. He looks likely to go to Manchester United despite being the third choice on Jose Mourinho’s transfer target list, according to rumours.
If Chelsea are able to capture Bakayoko for the reported £35m fee, he would become the team’s most expensive midfield transfer to date. ESPN reports that Matic’s move to Manchester United would fetch Chelsea around £40m, which would fully pay for Bakayoko’s move to London.
Tiemoue Bakayoko has agreed to join Chelsea. An agreement with Monaco is ‘really close’. pic.twitter.com/Q6cJaXJ9LJ
— Transfer News (@TrustyTransfers) June 23, 2017
The midfielder’s defensive prowess would be an upgrade on Matic, according to last season’s stats.
Tiemoue Bakayoko 2016-17 key stats:
- 2.2 tackles per Ligue 1 match
- 1.8 interceptions per Ligue 1 match
- 1.7 clearance per Ligue 1 match
Nemanja Matic 2016-17 key stats:
- 1.5 tackles per Premier League match
- 1.4 interceptions per Premier League match
- 1.3 clearance per Premier League match
Chelsea have reportedly identified four areas to upgrade this season as the club returns to the Champions League next term. Bakayoko not only brings tough tackling leadership to central midfield, but he also has Champions League experience from his time with the French champions.
Some have compared the Frenchman to Yaya Toure, and see him having a similar trajectory. Toure had one of the best seasons of his career at Monaco before moving to Barcelona and on to Manchester City.
According to FourFourTwo magazine, Bakayoko was fortunate during his time at Monaco to learn from Claude Makelele, one of the greatest defensive midfielders to ever play the game. Makelele took a role with the club’s coaching staff prior to his current role at Swansea, and helped to guide the youngster. Makelele found Premier League success at Chelsea, and it is no wonder Bakayoko is now heading to west London.
Chelsea had tried to buy Bakayoko back in January, but with Monaco in the thick of the Ligue 1 race and Champions League, the team declined the offer. He will now make the move to the Blues and should earn significantly more than the less the £20,000-a-week he has earned at Monaco.