Tieumoue Bakayoko still has plenty to prove to Chelsea following his £40million summer move to the club, according to club legend Frank Lampard.
The France midfielder arrived in a much-heralded move from Monaco over the summer, but is yet to find any consistency and lost his place at the weekend with Danny Drinkwater preferred as N’Golo Kante’s partner in the Chelsea engine room.
And with Drinkwater impressing in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Newcastle, Lampard believes Bakayoko has much to do to convince Chelsea he was worth the heavy investment.
Writing his his column for the Evening Standard, Lampard said: “Tiemoue Bakayoko will need to raise his game at Chelsea to keep Danny Drinkwater from taking his place on a more regular basis.
“Both players joined in the summer and as yet, Bakayoko has not made enough of an impact in games.
“When you sign for Chelsea, you have to understand that you’re never the only player for a position. There is always someone else knocking on the door.
“The pressure should be coming from within. Chelsea paid Monaco £40m for him – and that brings expectation. He has to live up to that on the pitch.
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“Bakayoko has to work hard in training and also when he plays. He has quality, we saw that in the Champions League last season. He was fantastic in Monaco’s run to the semi-finals and that’s what everyone is waiting for at Chelsea.”
Lampard believes Bakayoko will improve once he nails down his favoured role in Chelsea’s midfield and Lampard added: “At the moment I am looking at Bakayoko and I’m not sure what kind of midfield player he is.
“I initially thought he could be compared to Yaya Toure, however, I don’t see that so much now.
“The way Chelsea play means he has to be disciplined in midfield, as Conte wants the wing-backs high up the pitch.
“Then the attacking players are given a bit of freedom, so he is one of two defensive midfielders given real responsibility to win tackles, keep things tight and move the ball quickly. N’Golo Kante does it out of instinct, but Bakayoko is finding it harder.”
Since joining Chelsea, France midfielder Bakayoko has featured in 18 games, scoring twice.