Tiemoue Bakayako insists he is not taking a step back after re-joining Monaco on loan from Chelsea.
The French midfielder initially made the switch from Monaco to Chelsea in 2017, signing for the Premier League club on a five-year deal.
Was Bakayoko right to return to Monaco? Five things to know…
- Tiemoue Bakayoko left Monaco for Chelsea in 2017.
- The Frenchman had a tough first season with Chelsea, spending last year on loan with AC Milan.
- And he has since returned to Monaco on another season-long loan after failing to impress Frank Lampard.
- Bakayoko insists the return is not a step backwards.
- The 25-year-old made 92 appearances in his first spell for Monaco.
But Bakayoko struggled to get going in his first season in west London, with some erratic performances in midfield. The Frenchman spent last year on loan at AC Milan and, after being given a pre-season chance, failed to impress new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
As a result, a move for Bakayoko was sought, and the 25-year-old was loaned back to Monaco until the end of the 2019/20 season. And while some may look on the move as a step back, Bakayoko disagrees.
“There was a good opportunity to come back here in a very good project,” he told reporters.
“Lots of people will perhaps say that I am taking a step back by coming to Monaco but I see it differently.
“My two experiences abroad allowed me to play a lot, contrary to what a lot of people have said.
“My season in Milan brought me a lot in terms of new avenues of football and professionalism. I have taken a lot of positive things away from it.
“The club is what is important today. I do not think about my personal ambitions.
“I want to try to perform well on the pitch to help the club reach its objectives.
“Les Bleus, I think about it, but it will come as and when.
“I come back with a new standing, I really want to bring to this group what I have learned and to try to transmit more confidence here.”
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Lampard explains Bakayoko departure
Despite Chelsea being unable to sign players in the summer, the Blues saw a large number of departures, including 27 loanees.
But with N’Golo Kante suffering from injury problems, there has been talk of Chelsea’s midfield being stretched in the first few weeks of the season – leading to questions on Bakayoko’s departure.
But Lampard defended the decision by emphasising the options he will soon have at his disposal.
He told reporters: “Danny [Drinkwater] has been here for two years and hadn’t played many games. He was eager for his own benefit, which I felt was good for us.
“Bakayoko similarly was here for one season, went on loan and going on loan again to try to bring himself back to where he wants to be.
“If you want to talk midfield players we have got Jorginho, [Mateo] Kovacic, [N’Golo] Kante, [Mason] Mount, [Ross] Barkley, Reece James coming back from injury who can play in midfield, Andreas Christensen who can play in midfield, I have to make decisions on the squad as a whole, that is my job.”