TiΓ©mouΓ© Bakayoko

Bakayoko Returns to Ligue 1 More Experienced

Bakayoko Returns to Ligue 1 More Experienced

Publish on 03/20 at 19:00 - E. RAZO


Tiémoué Bakayoko returned to Ligue 1 last summer after stints abroad in English and Italian football. The 29-year-old midfielder, who previously played for Stade Rennais and AS Monaco, is now a prominent player with FC Lorient.

Bakayoko began his first-team career with Rennes and then moved to Monaco, becoming a key player on the team that won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title. Following four years with Monaco, Bakayoko left in 2017 to begin his adventure abroad, joining Chelsea. 

In his first season with the Blues, the midfielder won the 2017-18 FA Cup, marking Bakayoko's second consecutive season with a trophy. In 2018, the midfielder left London for AC Milan on a season-long loan. Bakayoko would return to Monaco for a brief loan stint but then begin carving out a career in Italy.

The former Monaco star spent the 2020-21 season loaned out to Napoli and then had two more seasons on loan, in a second stint with AC Milan, where he won the 2021-22 Serie A title. Last October, Bakayoko talked to L'Equipe and mentioned how his experiences playing in England and Italy have shaped him into a different player as he returns to Ligue 1.

"I've learned a lot tactically, especially in Italy. The defenses there are deeper and stronger. I enjoyed playing in the Italian league. England helped me improve my stamina through consistent effort. I'm coming back with a richer experience. Being loaned out for several seasons has been a bit of a downside in my career. I hope to have more stability at a club from now on."

Excluding his short return to Monaco, Bakayoko departed Ligue 1 as a young talent, only to come back as an experienced player with Lorient. The ex-AC Milan standout also clarified to L'Equipe his reasons for joining Les Merlus.

"One must have respect for what Lorient has achieved. It's an important club in France. So yes, many will say that after the clubs I've been to, going to Lorient is a step backward. But I don't see it that way."

"The most important thing is being on the pitch, no matter which jersey you wear, and performing. I thought this was the project that suited me best, in a fairly familial club, far from all the pressure of the clubs I've been with previously. I was keen on finding a project that could fit me and a coach I know."

Bakayoko's experience has been invaluable for Lorient this season, especially as the team navigates a relegation battle. Last weekend, the midfielder came through in an important moment, scoring against his former club Monaco during second-half stoppage time to salvage a crucial point for Lorient. If Lorient stays in Ligue 1, Bakayoko will play a vital role in the latter stages of the 2023-24 season.


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