Tour Story: Chelsea in Japan, day one
In the first of our mini-travel series, we document what's going on while the Blues are away in Japan...
Tiemoue Bakayoko completed a transfer from Monaco on 15 July 2017, signing a five-year contract.
He is a tall, strong and quick central midfielder who was instrumental in Monaco’s Ligue 1 triumph the previous season, as well as their impressive run to the Champions League semi-finals.
In possession, Bakayoko typically plays quickly and simply but has the ability to be more expansive if required, and is strong in a one-on-one situation. In 2016/17 he was ranked 15th in Ligue 1 for successful take-ons, highlighting his dribbling ability.
In a tight central midfield two at Monaco he starred as they unexpectedly beat Paris St-Germain to the 2017 title and also reached the last four of the Champions League, knocking out Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund en route. Bakayoko scored the decisive goal in a thrilling two-legged tie against the Premier League side.
Born in Paris, Bakayoko came through the Rennes academy in the north-west of France and made his senior debut in August 2013, a week after his 19th birthday.
He signed for Monaco the following summer and made almost 100 appearances for the principality side during his three seasons there, scoring five goals. He made great strides after former Blue Claude Makelele joined Monaco as a technical director in January 2016.
At international level, Bakayoko was a member of the junior France team that finished runners-up at the 2014 Toulon Tournament.
Bakayoko made 43 appearances during his maiden season at Stamford Bridge, including in the FA Cup final as he completed the full 90 minutes and performed well in our 1-0 win over Man United at Wembley. He also scored three goals.
In August 2018 it was announced he would spend the 2018/19 season on loan at AC Milan.
He made his senior international debut for France against Spain in March 2017, playing alongside N'Golo Kante and with Alvaro Morata and Pedro in opposition.
Having completed his recovery from injury during the pre-season of 2017, Bakayoko made his Chelsea debut when he started a Wembley win over Spurs. His first goal came in a big home win over Azerbaijan side Qarabag in the Champions League. His first Premier League goal followed at Crystal Palace in October 2017 although that one in a defeat.
The Frenchman continued as a frequent part of Antonio Conte’s chosen midfield during the player’s first Chelsea season but he was sent-off for two yellow cards in the first half of a February defeat at Watford. Injury then ruled him out for five weeks but he returned as a substitute in a home win over Crystal Palace.
He produced some impressive performances towards the end of the campaign, including in a tight home win over Liverpool, and played the full 90 minutes as we beat Manchester United at Wembley to lift the FA Cup.
In August 2018, following the arrival of Jorginho at Chelsea, Bakayoko headed to Italy's Serie A to spend the 2018/19 season on loan at AC Milan. Although he lost his place in the team there early in the season, he recaptured his form as the season progressed and ended up a regular, making 42 appearances overall and scoring once, although the end of his season was blighted by racist abuse from Lazio fans suffered in the Coppa Italia semi-final, and a touchline argument with Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso who left at the end of the campaign with Milan finishing fifth. Bakayoko returned to Chelsea.