Tiemoue Bakayoko seemingly has no intention of returning to Chelsea after being presented as an AC Milan player for the second time.
The path from Stamford Bridge to San Siro has been a fairly well-trodden one this year. After Fikayo Tomori made an initial loan move permanent, teammates Olivier Giroud and Bakayoko also switched west London for Milan.
For Bakayoko, it is a return to familiar surroundings after a previous loan spell with the Rossoneri in the 2018-19 season. It was his first loan spell away from Stamford Bridge after a disappointing debut season following a transfer from Monaco.
In fact, following his first spell with Milan, he returned to Monaco for a season-long loan, before spending the 2020-21 campaign back in Serie A with Napoli.
Chelsea have still been unable to find a buyer for him, but managed to offload him in the final few days of the summer transfer window. Milan took him back, but it was again via a loan deal, this time running for two seasons.
They will have the option to buy him as part of the agreement, which would seemingly be the best solution for all parties should he impress again.
Indeed, Bakayoko has revealed at an introductory press conference that he now wants stability after the repetitive nature of Chelsea’s loan policy.
“The time has come for stability. To settle,” Bakayoko told reporters.
“This is definitely the club that suits me best and is the place where I would like to stay.
“I have a particular attachment to Milan, I consider it my home and this is where I would like to win trophies. I really missed the environment, the city – I have always followed this club.”
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Bakayoko extended his Chelsea contract until 2024 before sealing his latest loan exit, despite having little intention of returning.
It has been a common strategy for the Blues, who even triggered a clause in Giroud’s deal to ensure they earned a minor windfall by selling him to Milan rather than releasing him.
Chelsea currently have more than 20 players out on loan, many of whom have endured several similar spells already.
But it seems Bakayoko, now 27, is determined to end that cycle by making his second Milan spell a success.
He made 42 appearances for them in 2018-19, scoring one goal and adding one assist. With Champions League football also on offer this time around, he could have an important part to play once more.
Redknapp rates Saul signing
While Bakayoko departed, Chelsea strengthened their midfield with the loan addition of Saul Niguez on deadline day.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder was looking for a new challenge and has moved to the Premier League as a result. He will provide high-level competition alongside existing options such as Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
The addition of Saul has been praised by pundit Jamie Redknapp, who believes it is a sign they are challenging on all fronts this year.
He said on Sky Sports News: “Do you know how I see it? I reckon, what they’re probably thinking now, [N’Golo] Kante picked up an injury didn’t he against Liverpool at the weekend, they’ve got [Mateo] Kovacic, Jorginho.
“They might be feeling a little bit light in there and they also know this might be their year; this is a big chance.
“What you don’t want to do is leave yourself short with numbers in a certain area.
“Of course they’ve got other players who can play in midfield; Mason Mount can come and be one of the three in there.
“But if you can get a player like Niguez into the building, good experience, good player, that would make a lot of sense to me.
“Just to give yourself some cover and make sure you have options in that midfield area.”
While Saul did arrive, though, Chelsea missed out on another of their deadline day targets. And it has not gone down too well…