Chelsea ready to resist offers for Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko
Chelsea are ready to resist offers for Álvaro Morata and Tiémoué Bakayoko unless either of the pair express a desire to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Determined to learn from the lessons of casting Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah aside too soon, Chelsea are willing to give Morata and Bakayoko time to fulfil their promise.
Morata and Bakayoko have both suffered difficult starts to their Chelsea careers this season, but there remains a strong belief inside the club that they will prove to be important players.
Juventus are interested in re-signing Morata, who has made no secret of his fondness of Turin, while Monaco would jump at the chance of re-signing Bakayoko as part of an anticipated summer overhaul.
But Chelsea have no desire to sell either man and will only consider doing so if Morata or Bakayoko ask to leave.
Morata and Bakayoko both started on the substitutes’ bench for Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton, with the Spaniard scoring the his side’s second goal after replacing Olivier Giroud.
The duo now face a battle to force their way into head coach Antonio Conte’s starting line-up in time for the final against Manchester United.
But even if they remain on the bench, Chelsea are optimistic both players can be important first-team players next season and justify their big transfer fees.
There is also an acknowledgement within Stamford Bridge that young players, particularly in the cases of De Bruyne and Salah, have been judged and subsequently cast aside too quickly.
Liverpool forward Salah was voted Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year on Sunday and the Egyptian is now fighting it out with Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne for the Football Writers’ award.
Bakayoko, who cost Chelsea £39.7 million, has been a slow starter before in his career. The midfielder made only 17 appearances during his first season at Monaco before eventually becoming a major part of the team that won the Ligue 1 title.
He underwent knee surgery last May and played with pain during the first weeks and months of his Chelsea career, having missed a lot of pre-season.
Morata, who cost an initial £57m from Real Madrid, has scored 15 goals in all competitions for Chelsea which is seen as a decent return in his debut season.
The 25-year-old has also had to contend with injuries and the death of a close friend while he has attempted to get used to the more physical nature of the Premier League, and deal with the pressure of being the number one striker for the first time in his career.
His attitude has been questioned at times, as Morata has been said to have complained about life in England on numerous occasions, even though he insists he has settled in well, and the ease at which he goes down under challenges has caused frustration.
But Chelsea hope those issues will iron themselves out following a first campaign of adjustment, in which he has already developed a profitable relationship with Cesar Azpilicueta.
Seven or Morata’s nine headed goals this season have been set-up by Azpilicueta and he said: “I always say thanks to Azpi because he knows where I want the ball and it’s great to have all of the assists from him.”