Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko has explained the decision to leave on loan last summer, and has dropped another hint on staying at AC Milan.
After a shaky start to life in Italy, the 24-year-old has now established himself as a key figure in coach Gennaro Gattuso’s plans and has made 27 appearances this year.
With Milan continuing to battle for a Champions League qualification spot, Bakayoko will undoubtedly remain a fundamental part of that push in the heart of the midfield in the coming months as he continues to impress during his loan spell.
However, speaking about his exit from Chelsea, there is no doubt that the Frenchman is disappointed with the way in which his spell at Stamford Bridge turned out, and potentially ended, depending on whether or not the Italian giants opt to make his loan move a permanent one this summer.
“I left Chelsea because I felt that the club didn’t want me anymore,” he is quoted as saying by MilanNews.it. “Of course, I was disappointed. I’d been there for a year, it didn’t go as I had expected. It was an easy decision because I don’t think the coach was counting on me and Milan is difficult to refuse.
“To be at a club that doesn’t want you for the following season, it’s not easy but I think it’s necessary to live moments like these. Now I’m ready to face more difficult moments, I think I’m better prepared.”
Despite the return of Lucas Biglia to the squad last weekend for the win over Cagliari, Bakayoko was able to keep his place in the side as he has now become a fans favourite.
From his physicality and reading of the game to offer protection in front of the backline to his powerful, driving runs forward to offer a different dynamic in attack, he has started to showcase the quality which arguably convinced Chelsea to sign him in the first place.
Based on his comments below though, it sounds as though he may well be open to the idea of staying at the San Siro permanently, having overcome a difficult start in Italy to now feeling settled.
“I understand that it’s not just any club, you understand that you are in a winning team, with a history full of trophies,” he added. “I have built a fighting spirit here. Gattuso is like a father figure. Our relationship is the best.
“We talk about everything. It’s nice to have a relationship like this with the coach. Serie A is very tactical and this is very important. I like this league as a player, it allows me to show off my skills.”
As noted by Goal.com, Milan have a €35m option to buy in the agreement with Chelsea. Considering his form on the pitch and his comments above, it would come as no surprise if Bakayoko were to remain at Milan beyond this summer.