Antonio Conte is convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko has a future at Chelsea despite a difficult first season in the Premier League.
The French midfielder rose to prominence last season with Monaco, making himself a key part of Leonardo Jardim’s side as they won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
Chelsea saw enough in his performances to consider him worth the reported £40million asking price, as Nemanja Matic was surprisingly allowed to join Manchester United.
Bakayoko has struggled to hit the same heights as he managed at Monaco and has spent time out of the starting XI as a result.
But the 23-year-old produced a solid performance in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Liverpool, and Conte thinks that was evidence of the player having the right characteristics to be a success at Stamford Bridge.
“I always say that we are talking about a young player,” Conte told reporter on Tuesday. “This is his first season in this country.
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“As you know, to arrive and adapt yourself quickly in this league isn’t simple. It’s not simple to get into our football.
“He has the right characteristics to play for Chelsea. I trust him. He played a good game against Liverpool.
“I know him and for sure he has a lot of space for improvement, but I repeat, he’s a young player with not a great many seasons in his past. He played only one season with Monaco last season.”
Bakayoko’s compatriot Olivier Giroud has had better luck in his first few months at Chelsea.
Although the striker has not been a regular starter, he has made a strong impact and scored the winner in Sunday’s victory, leaving Conte impressed.
“For sure, he’s been a good signing for us,” Conte said. “You are talking about a player with great experience, an international player.
“He’s played many seasons in this country. I think he’s a good signing, a good fit and he played a really good game against Liverpool, not only for the goal, but because he worked very hard for the team, with and without the ball. We must be pleased for his signing.”
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