Chelsea can thank two club legends for Tiemoue Bakayoko’s development before the midfielder arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The France international joined last week from Monaco in a £40million deal.
He is expected to partner N’Golo Kante in the centre of midfield and Chelsea fans will be hoping they can forge an uncompromising partnership.
Following his move, Bakayoko has confirmed that Claude Makelele – arguably Chelsea’s greatest ever defensive midfielder – was highly influential in making him the player he is today.
‘Makélélé helped me greatly,’ Bakayoko told the club’s website.
‘When he arrived at Monaco I wasn’t a very, very good player, but I had a lot of discussions with him. He gave me a lot of advice and he allowed me to play my style of football more simply.’
His comments came after Makelele, who spent five years at Stamford Bridge and won two Premier League titles, spoke of his relationship with Bakayoko.
Makelele on Bakayoko
‘One day I decided to talk to him, I come down and every day I spend it with him. (He had) this wall, this midfielder, the way he plays, he does a lot of wrong things.
‘After I see that it’s not only football, the different way is the problem he has I just wanted to clear this way, but I can’t explain everything (with his personal life) so let’s just talk about football.
‘I talked with him, cleaned him the way he needed to be free in the head. To play as a midfielder you need to be 100 per cent concentrated. If it’s always a little problem here, little problem there, you can’t focus on your job you know? I talked a lot with him, like a full month with him every day, explaining things on the training ground.
‘Focusing on him, not just him, but a lot of players like (Kylian) Mbappe or (Thomas) Lemar who also were on the bench. So when I decided I was leaving, I said to the boss: listen this player needs to play more time, he needs more competition and then you’ll see.
‘The next season this happened and it’s like genius no? I think Bakayoko, I don’t know if he’s going to Chelsea or Manchester, but it will be good for him, he’ll be stronger. He has good qualities. He’s good, he needs time and he needs to learn also in the Premier League, as it’s not easy the Premier League.
‘He’s not one to get scared. He makes the decisions all the time, sometimes it’s wrong, but this kind of player will make mistakes in order to get better. He has quality as a dribbler, passer, the timing of the pass. He’s good, very good.
‘Now he needs one manager that will make him a big player.’
Makelele however isn’t the only former Chelsea player to have had an influence on the Blues’ latest signing.
The 22-year-old revealed that striker Didier Drogba was an inspiration.
‘Drogba has had a stellar career and he managed to do so many great things, first at Marseille and then here at Chelsea,’ he said.
‘He is definitely an example that I wish to follow, be it the footballer or the person himself. He showed the whole world what he was and I saw that and admired it.’