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First words: Tiemoue Bakayoko

Shortly after signing a five-year contract with the Blues, Tiemoue Bakayoko (pictured above with technical director Michael Emenalo) sat down with the official Chelsea website to discuss the move, some past and present greats, and what he hopes to achieve in his first year at Stamford Bridge…

Tiemoue, welcome to Chelsea! Why did you decide to join?

Thank you! I am very happy to be here. For me this is the biggest English club, and I hope to achieve great things here. I am very proud.

Chelsea is a great club with a great history, and they are the champions of England. My wish was to be at the best English club there is today.

I am very happy and proud for me, my family and the people who have been following me for a very long time. Now the work starts for all of us together to progress.

What have you made of Cobham?

I have got a great reception and I’m very much impressed by the facilities here. Everything is much bigger than I have known, and it seems like the perfect place to play football.

I haven’t been to Stamford Bridge yet but I can’t wait to see this big stadium.

We saw you had a chat with Antonio Conte. What did he say?

We spoke a lot about tactics, and training, and he took the time to talk to me about my game and explain I must be serious-minded and work hard. 

What have you made of the Premier League watching it from afar?

I know that the Premier League is a very difficult championship, one of the most difficult in the world. It is very physical and I know you must be in fighting form to compete in this league.

For those who haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your game?

That is hard, but I think I am an intelligent player who offers physicality and can also dribble and get by people.

You join a fellow French midfielder in the squad, N’Golo Kante. What do you make of him and how do you think you can combine on the pitch?

N’Golo Kante has proved it all. He was the best player in the Premier League last season in the middle of the pitch and that is not easy. To play alongside him would be something very good for me and it can help me progress.

I’ve played a match with him for the French national team so we know each other very well and I hope we can do beautiful things together this year. 

A past Chelsea midfielder, Claude Makelele, worked with you for a while at Monaco…

Yes, Makelele helped me greatly. When he arrived at Monaco I wasn’t a very, very good player, but I had a lot of discussions with him, he gave me a lot of advice, and he allowed me to play my style of football more simply.

And you have said before Didier Drogba was a hero of yours…

Drogba has had a stellar career and he managed to do so many great things, first at Marseille and then here at Chelsea. He is definitely an example I wish to follow, be it the footballer or the person himself. He showed the whole world what he was and I saw that and admired it.

Finally, what are your hopes for the coming campaign?

I have the ambition to play as many matches as possible, to progress as much as I can with a great coach like Antonio Conte, and then I have the objective of taking part in the World Cup at the end of the season.