Chelsea seals blockbuster Bakayoko switch for reported €45M fee

Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty

Chelsea's midfield will have a decidedly French feel next season after the Premier League holder finalised a reported €45-million move Saturday for robust box-to-box midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The west London side announced the signing with a statement on its website, adding that Bakayoko makes the switch from Ligue 1 champ Monaco on a five-year contract.

Bakayoko, 22, emerged as a future star on the principality side this past season while paired with Fabinho, and Antonio Conte and Co. will hope the tough-tackling midfielder can forge a similar tandem with fellow France international N'Golo Kante.

"I am very happy to be here and to join this great team," Bakayoko said. "I have grown up watching Chelsea. Signing was the natural thing for me because it is a club I loved very much in my childhood.

"I am now looking forward to evolving under this fantastic coach and alongside many great teammates."

In 32 league appearances, Bakayoko shined for Leonardo Jardim's side, combining penchants for deft dribbling and surging forward with an eye for timely tackles and interceptions. If his performances in France's top flight were a sign of things to come, his displays in the Champions League opened the eyes of pundits and supporters alike, prompting a maiden call-up to Didier Deschamps' national side.

Related - Timely transfers: Money-making Monaco poised for profits

For Monaco, the sale of Bakayoko is consistent with a youth movement where Jardim, vice president Vadim Vasilyev, and chief scout Bertrand Reuzeau have cultivated a young core, many of whom, like Bakayoko and Manchester City new-boy Bernardo Silva, have been sold for a massive profit.

In this instance, Bakayoko's departure has been covered by the bargain-basement acquisition of Soualiho Meite, and if Monaco's loss is Chelsea's gain, the addition of the towering Frenchman is reason enough for Premier League sides to further fear a date with the Blues.

With Bakayoko and Kante set to partner, and with Cesc Fabregas in support, Nemanja Matic's second spell at Stamford Bridge is likely nearing its end. For Chelsea, the rich keep getting richer.

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Chelsea seals blockbuster Bakayoko switch for reported €45M fee
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