Good morning, happy Wednesday. Even though the Premier League season is back, it’s still oddly quiet when it comes to news. I’ve noticed this over the last few days. I find it quite strange, but people must be just keeping their heads down after the first weekend of the season. Maybe things will kick off a bit in the next few days. We’ll have a look at what’s going on anyway.
Bakayoko’s Milan Move
Chelsea announced yesterday that Tiemoue Bakayoko has moved to AC Milan on a season-long loan. Reports say that deal could become permanent next summer for a fee of £35m, but I have no idea whether that may be an obligation for the Italian club to buy, as we see so much these days. My feeling is that it’s not, but if he has a good season over there, Milan may go through with the deal.
Losing Bakayoko on loan is no bad thing for Chelsea, in my opinion. He was extremely poor quite a lot of the time last season, and how he made 43 appearances for them is beyond me. Any other manager would have dropped him, but Antonio Conte stuck by him. Maybe he was going easy on the Frenchman because he knew there was a good player in there that just had to adapt to English football. I would like to think that’s the case, because he moved from Monaco for around £40m last summer. There were big expectations placed on him, as Nemanja Matic was allowed to leave because Bakayoko came in. In hindsight, that was probably a poor decision.
Chelsea didn’t allow him to leave before now, and that could have been because they wanted to let Maurizio Sarri have a look at him first. Sarri has either decided that he’s not good enough, or that a loan for a year may improve him and he’ll be a better player next season. With Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben-Loftus Cheek, Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater all fighting it out in the midfield, Sarri could afford to let him go. He has enough options to work with without Bakayoko.
Maybe Bakayoko did just need time to adapt to the Premier League though. I didn’t see much of Monaco the year they won the league, but he must have been really good if Chelsea went out and spent £40m on him and allowed Matic to leave. The potential has to be there somewhere.
It’s not really like he struggled to keep up with the pace or the physicality of the league either though. The ball bounced off him like he was a brick wall at times. His passing was horrendous and he gave the ball away in terrible positions more than once. I’m not convinced they’re things that adapting to the league will help with. They’re basic things that a footballer should be better at. Maybe he was nervous and that’s why he was quite poor, but Chelsea can’t stick by a player just because he’s nervous.
I wouldn’t like to write Bakayoko off completely either. He’s just 23 years of age – 24 on Friday, but he’s 23 for now, because that’s how it works 😉 – so he can still develop. A year in Italy may be good for him and he could come back a more confident and more experienced player. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on over there. I mean, I probably won’t watch AC Milan at all this season unless they’re drawn against an English club in the Europa League. But yeah, it’ll be interesting to read/hear how he’s getting on.
Chelsea will probably sell him to Milan next summer anyway, and we won’t see him in the Premier League again.
Spurs’ New Stadium
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Spurs’ new stadium has had to be put back again because of ‘issues with critical safety systems’. Their first game in the new stadium was supposed to be against Liverpool on Saturday, September 15, but that game, along with their game against Cardiff on Saturday, October 6, has been moved to Wembley. They’re due to play Man City at home on October 28, but it’s unclear what they’ll do for that game.
They say that it’s common for projects like this to be delayed. Spurs have apologised to their supporters and have arranged refunds for their tickets. They say it’s hugely frustrating that this has happened so far into the project, but it’s unavoidable.
It isn’t ideal for Spurs at all. I have to say, I could tell that it would be a struggle to get the stadium ready on time when they were releasing photos of it during the summer. It didn’t look like it was even close to getting done, and a lot of people could tell that there was a lot of work still to do. I’m not sure quite how much work there is still to do, and whether the stadium is almost done but these safety systems are the only thing holding it up, but it’s certainly not ideal.
We always knew that they would have to go to Wembley anyway, but not for that amount of time. It has been said that it may be a struggle to get the stadium done for the Man City game because they have to hold two test events before they can use it. I have no idea whether they’ll get it done by then, I’m just going by what I have read. We’ll see how much longer it takes them to get it sorted, and we’ll be updated by the club.
Will this stuff affect the team? They didn’t struggle at Wembley last season like people said they would, but will using two different stadiums in the same season, and not even knowing when they’ll play in their new stadium, hurt them? I’m not sure it will, to be honest. They’re professional footballers, who play at the highest level. They should be alright. Obviously, having an actual home stadium that you can call your own and attempt to turn it into a fortress helps, but it’s going to take quite a bit of time in their new stadium before they get to that anyway.
Playing a few games at Wembley shouldn’t hurt them too much. It may unsettle them a little bit, and they would have much preferred to just get going in their new stadium right at the start of the season, but that wasn’t the case. They just have to get on with it and go out there and play to the best of their ability. Spurs have a big season ahead of them, and they’ll have to be as good as ever if they want to finish in the top four. They can’t afford to let this hurt them and have to get on with it as if it isn’t an issue at all.
That’s that for this morning. Hopefully we’ll have a bit more news throughout the day, and if we do, you’ll find that on Twitter. I’ll be back tomorrow, as always. Have a good one.