AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso has insisted that if the club can sign Tiemoue Bakayoko outright, then they must do so this summer.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed quite the resurgence this season, as after disappointing at Chelsea last year and struggling early on Italy in what is a season-long loan spell, he has established himself as a key figure for the Rossoneri in recent months.
Bakayoko has now made 25 appearances so far this season, regularly finding himself in contention for the Man of the Match vote on the club’s official Twitter account.
With that in mind, it raises the question as to whether or not he will do enough to convince Milan to sign him on a permanent basis, with Calciomercato reporting that his current loan deal comes with a €35.5m option to buy.
Based on Gattuso’s comments in his press conference on Saturday, it would appear as though he has no hesitation over what Milan should do.
“If we have the possibility of keeping him, then we absolutely must do so, but I am not the one in charge of the finances and can’t talk about that,” he told the media, as quoted by MilanNews. “All I know is Bakayoko can become a fundamental player for Milan in the future.”
Should the Frenchman maintain his current form, it will surely be difficult for Milan to ignore the option, assuming that they qualify for the Champions League and perhaps are in a stronger financial position to meet the agreed price.
Meanwhile, as Bakayoko continues to impress, Hakan Calhanoglu has struggled, with the Turkish playmaker managing to contribute just three assists with no goals in 19 Serie A appearances so far this campaign.
According to Calciomercato, via the paper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, it has been suggested that he must prove his worth between now and the end of the season in order to avoid being sold in the summer.
With Milan failing to sign a winger in the January transfer window, the 24-year-old may well have to continue to try and impress in a less natural role for him on the left wing in Gattuso’s preferred 4-3-3 system.