Tiemoue Bakayoko’s future is currently unclear. He had been on loan to AC Milan and AS Monaco in the past two seasons but he is still contracted to Chelsea.
Bakayoko was signed in the summer of 2017 by Antonio Conte as an upgrade to Nemanja Matic for a 3-4-3 double DM pairing. He failed to have a brilliant debut season at the club, and that made it understandable for Sarri to loan him out the following season.
Now that his future is clouded, can he still be useful for Chelsea? Well, he is still a Chelsea player, and it’s easy for Frank Lampard to bring him back if he wants. Bakayoko could be of use to the team, especially in a 4-2-3-1 formation (usually Jorginho-Mateo Kovacic pivot). This pivot could work effectively in a balanced approach if we have a holding defensive midfielder pairing of either of them.
Bakayoko could work well with Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, and Billy Gilmour, pairing with any type of defensive midfielder because of his style of play. In this system, he would provide cover for his midfield partner and join in to help the central defenders when needed.
The lack of a holding DM contributed to Chelsea’s poor defence this season. No player in the squad could offer the quality that position required. Only Kante came close, but he is short and he loves attacking. He is wired to always intercept moves higher up the pitch, hence putting the defence in trouble. The presence of Bakayoko could stabilize the DMF position. With him staying back, his partner could do all he wants to in the attack.
Another way Bakayoko can help is by sorting out Kai Havertz’s position (potentially). Aside from not having a proper DM, one of the problems Chelsea had with 4-2-3-1 is Mason Mount’s inability to be an ideal number 10. But with the solution of having a balanced midfield, Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, and every other player to feature in the number 10 role could freely focus their game on the attacking, without worrying too much about defending.
Bakayoko can also solve the problem of height in set-piece situations. Whether we will stick to 4-2-3-1 or not, Bakayoko’s physique is that type every club should have because there will be days that call for it. This is not to exaggerate his ability, but tactically Chelsea absolutely need him.
Do you think Bakayoko fits in at Chelsea under Lampard? Let us know in the comments below!