Michy Batshuayi- The new Didier Drogba?
Posted by Daniele Accurso | Published on July 22, 2016
It seems strange that Antonio Conte’s first signing for Chelsea has gone under the radar. Arriving for a whopping £33 million, and only at the tender age of 22, many aren’t reporting and hyping Conte’s swoop for the Belgium international. With plenty of years ahead and an already fledged international for Belgium, Michy Batshuayi has what it takes to set the league alight this season.
What fascinates me with Batshuayi is that a previous Chelsea player had a similar path to that of Michy, and went on to become a cult hero at the Bridge. The name Didier Drogba will forever be held in high regards by the Stamford Bridge faithful and with the early stages of Batshuayi’s career mirrors that of Drogba’s, its got many fans excited. Having moved to Chelsea from Marseille in 2004, Didier went on to score 157 goals in 341 games in his first stint at Chelsea. The comparisons between Drogba and Batshuayi were profiled back in December 2015 in an article by Four Four Two. Batshuayi stated recently he wanted to try to emulate what the Ivorian legend achieved during his time at the club. He may not have the physical presence that Drogba had but not many do! Batshuayi has a great turn of pace and his finishing capabilities do resemble that of Didier. If Conte can use him effectively and he’s given time at a club notorious for having misfiring strikers (Torres and Shevchenko), Michy has what it takes to be a hit this season and for years to come.
At the age of 22, Batshuayi seems to be showing signs of a top striker. Between the age of 17 to 20, Batshuayi had netted 44 goals and had 13 assists in 120 games for Standard Liege. A record of 1 goals every 4 roughly at such a young age alerted French side Marseille and he eventually got his move abroad. At the French outfit, he continued his impressive form with 33 goals and 10 assists in 78 games. With an average of 0.42 goals a game, he was putting pressure on Belgium coach Marc Wilmots to select him for the national team. His international career hasn’t gone to bad either, with 3 goals in 7 games playing second fiddle to Lukaku. Considering that Batshuayi has come off the bench in each of those 7 games, he has an impressive rate in front of goal for the national side. One of those goals came in the Euros 2016, with his first touch of the game, showing he has the ability to be in the right place at the right time.
After completing his transfer, Batshuayi made his debut for the blues coming off the bench for Chelsea’s second pre-season game against RZ Pellets. In what was a 4-4-2 formation played by Conte, he seemed in good shape in the later stages of the game. Batshuayi’s big moment came when running onto a precise through ball, he went past the goalkeeper and played it back to Victor Moses who could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper. His frightening speed on Wednesday evening showed what a menace he could be in a front two alongside Diego Costa. If Costa can hold the ball or Fabregas picks him out when Michy runs in behind, Chelsea could be scoring for fun again this season. What worries me is that if Conte adopts a 4-2-3-1 formation like most premiership clubs do, he’ll be wasted on the bench with Costa being the main man. To add to that problem, Batshuayi is competing with Loic Remy and Chelsea youngster Bertrand Traore who saw a fair amount game time under Guus Hiddink last season. If Chelsea go with one up top, Remy an established striker and two promising youngsters will be wasted. At the age of 22, Batshuayi has to be playing regularly to mature him for a few years time when Costa may be gone and Chelsea are back in the Champions League year after year. Yesterday’s outing under Conte playing the 4-4-2 seemed to suit Chelsea well and I hope Antonio does play this formation as it will allow the two youngsters; Traore and Batshuayi to have serious playing time and not hurt their progression.
For now however, we’ll have to wait and see what formation Conte decides to use but with a record like Batshuayi’s and an international career already under way, my suspicion is that we could be seeing a great talent seriously emerge at the Bridge whilst haunting Premier League defences, for years to come!