Tiemoué Bakayoko will get his first taste of Premier League football next month after completing a £40 million move from Monaco to Chelsea during the summer becoming the Blues’ second most expensive player in their history. The French midfielder was one of a number of players who shone for the Ligue 1 champions last season as they were able to top the standings at the end of the campaign, putting an end to PSG’s dominance in the country.
Bakayoko is likely to play alongside his fellow French compatriot N’Golo Kante in Antonio Conte’s side when the campaign gets underway. The pair will be charged with the job of protecting the back three, while at the same time the former French midfielder will be expected to advance forward more than playing partner for the Blues.
Due to his size and power, Bakayoko can be dangerous for Chelsea from set-pieces. He is able to tower above defenders and as we saw against Manchester City in the Champions League last season, he can score some crucial goals from that position.
Chelsea are bidding to become the first club since Manchester United in 2009 to successfully defend the title in England. The bookmakers have given Chelsea odds of 3/1 to win the league championship in the 2016/17 campaign, while the Blues are 14/1 to win the Champions League on their return to Europe.
Bakayoko has been joined at Stamford Bridge by Alvaro Morata, who has also transferred to the champions from Real Madrid in a deal thought to be in the region of £60 million, while defender Antonio Rudiger has moved to the club from Serie A side Roma.
It is easy to forget how young Bakayoko is as the French international is just 22 years old and could be around at Chelsea for a long time if he settles well into the Premier League. France manager Didier Deschamps handed him his debut against Spain earlier this year and he is likely to play a big part in his country’s bid to win the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Comparisons in France are already being made between Bakayoko and Patrick Vieira due to the similarities in size. Vieira proved to be a huge player for Arsenal during the ’90s and ’00s and helped them to win three Premier League titles while he was with the Gunners. Chelsea fans will be hoping their man can develop into a player who was just as influential in England as Vieira.
Conte is likely to allow Nemanja Matic leave the club now he has secured Bakayoko’s services. Matic has been linked with a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. The Serbian’s transfer to the Reds will help the club recoup some of the fee they paid for Bakayoko earlier in the summer.
Bakayoko is likely to start for Chelsea in the Community Shield when they take on Arsenal at Wembley on August 6, while the Blues begin their title defence in the Premier League against Burnley on August 12.