Tiemoue Bakayoko sends message to Chelsea fans about N’Golo Kante
The Chelsea summer signing has his heart set on claiming a spot in France's squad for next summer's World Cup
Tiemoue Bakayoko believes he can rival Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante for a spot in France’s World Cup next summer.
The defending Premier League champions signed Bakayoko in a £40m deal from Ligue 1 holders AS Monaco in the summer transfer window.
Bakayoko’s arrival resulted in Nemanja Matic’s sale to title rivals Manchester United back in August.
The 23-year-old has made a solid if unspectacular start to life at Stamford Bridge as Bakayoko looks to claim a regular spot in Antonio Conte’s team.
The summer signing has scored one goal and has made two assists in 10 appearances in the Premier League so far this term.
However, Bakayoko was omitted from Didier Deschamps’ recent France squad ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
His club team-mate Kante is part of Deschamps’ set-up, though, given his consistent performances for Leicester and Chelsea over the past two and a half seasons.
But Bakayoko has his heart set on winning a place in the squad even at the expense of Kante.
“I’m disappointed [not to be in the France squad],” Bakayoko told Canal+.
“I believe in this World Cup, it’s still my goal. I play for a big club; I think that can work in my favour.
“I feel [Adrien] Rabiot, Kante, [Blaise] Matuidi, [Corentin] Tolisso are not better than me. I respect the coach’s decision and I also respect the players who were called up – they are talented, some are friends of mine.
“I’m proud that they were called up. I’d like to be with them. But I’m not below them.”
Chelsea were 1-0 winners against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in their last Premier League game before the international break.
The title holders are looking to win the top-flight crown for the third time in four seasons.