Michy Batshuayi has zero starts and 65 total minutes over four games with Valencia this season. If that’s what Chelsea wanted for him they could have kept him at Stamford Bridge.
For a team as top-heavy as Valencia they sure don’t have much to show for it. After finishing fourth in La Liga last year, Valencia have three points and three goals in four games this season.
Whatever options they have tried to ignite their offence and secure a win, making good use of their Chelsea loanee has not been among them.
Michy Batshuayi’s purgatory continues in Spain, where his transnational record of timely goals in the starting XI and off the bench has not been enough to warrant a start.
His second half of 2017/18 at Borussia Dortmund and post-injury performances in the World Cup have earned him a spot on the bench and 65 total minutes at Valencia this season. Unless Valencia start making good use out of him, Chelsea should consider recalling him in January.
There’s really no need to rehash all the many ways Chelsea have mishandled and potentially stunted the Belgian’s development. If you’re reading this, you already know.
Likewise, there’s only slightly more reason to bring up the continuing uncertainty around Chelsea’s striker options this season. Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata are both more than capable of seeing Chelsea through four competitions this season, if they both stay uninjured. That if carries a lot of weight.
The Blues are one injury away from returning (regressing?) to a false-nine, whether that is Eden Hazard or Lucas Piazon or, at this point, maybe Marcos Alonso. Long-time Maurizio Sarri devotees may welcome the opportunity to greet Chelsea’s Dries Mertens, but that should be a decision of volition, not one forced by injury. And certainly not one forced by the combination of injury and the realization that all backup strikers are on loan.
Regardless. Whatever happens to Chelsea, Michy Batshuayi needs to play more and deserves to play more. He will never progress into a Chelsea regular nor a regular anywhere else (that is to say, Chelsea will not be able to sell him at a hefty profit) if he is not playing consistently while under contract at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are not passive parties to the loan. Even if they did not include explicit terms of his playing time in the loan contract, they still retain the right to recall him if his playing time is so far below a reasonable level. 65 minutes in four games – four winless games – approaches the reasonable threshold.
Valencia open their Champions League campaign against Juventus this week. Perhaps they were saving Michy Batshuayi for this, given his experience playing in France, England and Germany. Hardly using a player seems an odd way of keeping him match-sharp for Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus and the Champions League, but we’re trying to be generous here.
If Batshuayi is a spectator midweek, though, Chelsea should be on the phone (the Batphone, some might say) to Valencia. They need to protect their investment in their player, and for once they need to do right by him. That may involve a recall and reassignment come January.
If Chelsea didn’t want Michy Batshuayi to play this season they could have kept him at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps by midseason Maurizio Sarri will recognize the mistake in letting him go, and Valencia will provide the excuse to bring him back to London.