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Michy Batshuayi: A Promising Chelsea Career That Never Was.

When the dust had finally settled from the intense ride that was the 2017 Premier League season, Chelsea was the club that emerged as the de...

When the dust had finally settled from the intense ride that was the 2017 Premier League season, Chelsea was the club that emerged as the deserved winners, and that’s when the era of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea had finally set its sail towards a happy relationship forever. While what transpired next in this Conte-Chelsea love story is a subject for another detailed analysis for another day, it’s worth remembering that there was this promising 23-year-old Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi, who put the stamp on that title-winning campaign with his goal that sealed off the season in grand style.

It seemed like a matter of time before this young, energetic striker would finally grab the passing torch from the outgoing Diego Costa and would be the one leading the line for the blues for years to come. So, where did it all go so wrong for Michy Batshuayi? I mean, he sure had all the attributes that would make you believe he could make it, whether it be his pace, his strength, his instant impact, or the directness in his play. In this article, we’re going to try and decode the Chelsea career of Batshuayi, by segmenting it into a few different phases, and conclude our analysis by digging deeper into the potential future of this still-young forward that once promised so much.

Michy Batshuayi Career Breakdown:-

Phase 1: The Introduction:

When Batshuayi was added to the fold during the 2016-17 season, it was apparent that he will likely ply his trade as a super-sub, since this is where Diego Costa was at the height of his powers. Even then, the Belgian was afforded 20 appearances in the Premier League, mostly as a substitute, and yet managed to hit the net 5 times during those super-brief moments.

It was for everyone to see that the 23-year old striker was not just a random-bloke who was simply there, to not be there in a few years’ time. His pace and natural goalscoring instincts caught the attention of foreign clubs, who were willing to take a punt by adding him to their roster, which would further help him develop his game and take it to the next level.

Phase 2: Fruitful Loan Spell(s):

Borrusia Dortmund was the first major test in the “life as a Chelsea loanee” for Michy Basthuayi, and safe to say he held his end of the bargain with some really impressive performances during his stint in Germany. His role didn’t really change much, however, so even though a tally of 7 goals in 872 Bundesliga minutes seemed like a fantastic return, it needed to be seen if the Belgian could really do it as the “Striker Under the Spotlight” for a major club in the long run.

As destiny would have, his next stop in Valencia would only damage his otherwise rapidly-growing stock, as a miserly return of 1 goal in over 1300 La Liga minutes further clouded the minds of his fans who thought he was ready to take the mantle as the main man for a major club. Of course, a change in scenery was in order, and that came in the form of another loan ride to a different London side in Crystal Palace.

While snatching a starting position from Christian Benteke is not the most bone-breaking task, it was clear that Michy needed more than just “displacing Benteke as the striker” to convince the Chelsea hierarchy that he warranted a chance to play for a side that he had admired for a long time.

While 5 goals in 15 games could not really be considered a deadly goal-scoring spree, apparently Michy had done enough to make sure that he at least stayed in the book of Chelsea and if the luck would be on his side, the Belgian would finally get to adorn the blue jersey again.

Phase 3: The Return Under Frank Lampard:

The destiny gods initially seemed to be on his side, since that’s where the transfer ban, at least for Michy’s sake, struck at the right time. The Chelsea team was now under a new regime, managed by the legend himself, “Super” Frank Lampard. Surely it would be the breakthrough season for Michy Batshuayi... where years of plying his trade on foreign lands would have finally paid off, as he would proudly emerge from the tunnel in front of his adoring Chelsea fans, and he’d continue to do the same for years and years to come...right???

Phase 4: The Horror Show of 2019-20 Season:

The life in the Premier League was less than cozy, however. When reality really kicked in, Michy knew that he was battling for the same spot with a younger, more promising talent in Tammy Abraham, who took no time in nailing down the starting spot on the back of some incredible performances against tough PL oppositions.

So when Tammy, the 22-year-old prospect was turning goal-scoring into a healthy habit, Michy Batshuayi, on the other hand, found it difficult to let the ball fly off his feet, as evidenced by his shockingly bad tally of 1 shot per game. So, even though he did chip-in every now and then, the statistical side of things was as gloomy as it could get.

Michy, the once-destined starter was not just attempting a shot once per game but was barely putting his weight in during the build-up phase (4.9 passes per game), and also was no longer able to beat his man either (0.3 dribbles per match). So, a man who was penciled down as the next Drogba by some fans (your sincere writer is guilty of the same crime), hasn’t even left a legacy that’s comparable with the likes of Alvaro Morata!

# What Lies Ahead?

At 26 years old, Michy Batshuayi is now arguably at the prime of his playing capacity. But by that prime age, when your sole fame to claim is blasting the ball off the pole back onto your face at the World Cup for millions to see, it’s fair to say that the future seems less than promising for the Belgian Forward.

Perhaps the final chapter of Michy’s career is yet to be written, but given that his contract runs out at the end of the 2021 season, perhaps that final chapter won’t be written in the ink of Blue!

I myself often was a participant in the “justice for Michy” movement. But can’t argue that he hasn’t helped himself with those disastrous outings where he was finally given the opportunity to lead the line under less than inconvenient circumstances by Frank Lampard, and he failed, again, to grab the bull by its horn and nailing down his future as a regular Chelsea player. Michy Batshuayi had failed to dominate the lowly oppositions during FA round trips, and the less said about his Premier League exploits, the better.

The only bright spot in his 2019 Chelsea campaign perhaps will be that solitary goal scored in the Champions League against Ajax, but that again perfectly sums up his Chelsea or football career so far, “substitute quality at best.”

Once again, it’s a bigger shame since Michy Batshuayi is a player with all the natural attributes that should make you a decent striker, but the mental side of a player is another thing that was never factored in. The elite mentality is the very thing that helped a born fighter in Diego Costa smash through a dry patch with a Lion’s roar, and made the likes of Alvaro Morata grab their head in disbelief and agony when they miss their 16th sitter of the game!!!!

In conclusion, this writer still believes that better things might eventually come in the footballing career of Michy Batshuayi, but it’s mutually beneficial for everyone involved that he searches for those moments at another club, under a manager who can offer him a permanent spot in his lineup so he can finally come close to realizing his full potential.

Written by - Kunal Wadhwa
Twitter - @Kunalwashere
Pic Edit - @Miz9Rahman

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