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Youri Tielemans will be the perfect replacement for Tiemoue Bakayoko

Tuesday 25th July 2017
AS Monaco has lost several important players during the current transfer window and several experts believe the loss of Tiemoue Bakayoko will be huge for the reigning Ligue 1 champions. However, they already have the perfect replacement for the French international after signing Youri Tielemans from Anderlecht this summer.

There is no question Tiemoue Bakayoko was one of the most important players for AS Monaco last season.

Bakayoko contributed with three goals and one assist in 51 appearances last season. However, the numbers do not do enough justice to his play. The central midfielder was the driving force of the team, even scoring an important goal during the UEFA Champions League tie against Manchester City. If players such as Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar shone like they did, it was because Bakayoko was guarding their backs. It is quite close to what N'Golo Kante has done over the past two years at Chelsea and Leicester.

Chelsea will be Bakayoko's destination for the next season. The talented midfielder will battle with Kante, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas for a spot in midfield. And while Monaco will miss him, they should not have a hard time replacing him. The reason is the presence of Youri Tielemans, one of the team's signings during the current transfer window.

Who is Youri Tielemans?

Tielemans has always been a highly-touted prospect. Ever since he joined Anderlecht in his native Belgium, everyone started talking about a central midfielder who seemed to do everything with absolute ease. And he quickly became an integral piece of the Belgian giants, becoming captain at the tender age of 19. Most experts predicted him to leave the Belgian side this summer and even though he had several offers on the table, Tielemens chose to join Monaco. And it seems like a very smart move, at least on paper.

First of all, Tielemans has joined the reigning Ligue 1 champions. The club also reached the UEFA Champions League semifinals last season. And while repeating both achievements seems complicated to say the least, Monaco clearly are a team on the rise. Tielemans should make them even better.

Playing Style

It is not a secret that Tielemans will take Bakayoko's place in the middle of the pitch, and he will likely play alongside Fabinho in central midfield. But that is where the similarities end between the recent Chelsea signing and the former Anderlecht star.

First of all, Tielemans is a more technical player than Bakayoko. He can operate as a defensive specialist in midfield, but he does not have a problem to feature in an advanced role as well. In fact, he played regularly as an attacking midfielder for Anderlecht during the 2016-17 campaign. The numbers back that up, as he netted 18 goals and added 15 assists in 53 matches across all competitions. He is not expected to feature on such an attacking stance with Monaco but make no mistake. When he gets the chance to move forward, he can create havoc on opposing defences.

Defensively he can thrive as well. He is known for being a fierce defender who can annul the opposing playmakers with ease. And while he is not nearly as physical as Bakayoko, he is an imposing presence in the middle of the pitch. At the very least, he should complement with Fabinho quite well.

Monaco will certainly miss Bakayoko. But Tielemans was an incredible signing and one that can easily make fans forget about the French international as long as he manages to play like he did with Anderlecht last season.
Juan Pablo Aravena

29-year-old sports analyst and journalist with over three years of experience in the industry. Writes about all kinds of sports from football to golf, but there is no question his biggest passion in life is football. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Colo Colo fan.

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