One of the more difficult deals for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to pull off this season was not an incoming, but the exit of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The defensive midfielder was not in Frank Lampard’s plans for the current season, and after a decent but not extraordinary loan stint at AS Monaco, clubs were not exactly falling over themselves for the France international.
AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain were the first to probe a possible deal, with I Rossoneri coming rather close until the arrival of Sandro Tonali, but it was Napoli who eventually sealed a deal in the final days of the window.
They brought Tiemoue to the south of Italy on loan, where the star will reunite with Gennaro Gattuso, who already managed him during a temporary stint at San Siro a couple of years ago.
In fact, it was I Rossoneri icon himself who was key to convincing the Blues man this was the right move for him.
The midfielder told a press conference last week, relayed by Mondo Napoli: “Of course [he was key], the manager convinced me to come in a great team like this one. I want to thank him live right now”.
There is no option to buy in the loan, so it’s expected for Tiemoue to return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign.
But there will be hope in the Chelsea offices that this is the season he will show his worth and finally get people keen enough to put real money on the table next summer.