It’s fair to say life at Chelsea for Michy Batshuayi has not been plain sailing – ever since signing for the club in 2016, the Belgian has struggled for game time and has been on numerous loan deals. This season has been an opportunity for many players to emerge at Chelsea but still, Batshauyi remains frozen out in the cold – once again. Which brings us to the important question: does Batshuayi have a future under Lampard at the club? And if so, how much longer does he have to be patient?
David Luiz was the first “Chelsea player” to show himself as impatient. This season, more than any, there is actual competition for places in the Chelsea side. Some players may have felt like their time will not come and the thoughts of leaving might have come to mind. Luiz was the first before the English window shut and he made the “judas” move to Arsenal. Couldn’t exactly be blamed as Lampard already set his sights on youth and that won’t have given hope to a 32-year-old centre back. So what next for Batshuayi and what does the future hold for him?
Since signing for £33m from Marseille, Batshuayi has played second fiddle to the likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. The lack of opportunities forced the Belgian to go on several loan spells at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace.
Players may wait and see when their chances will come for a bit, but at some point, they will grow tired of waiting and angle for a move. The question currently is how long does Michy Batshuayi wait for a shot?
So far, it appears as though Batshuayi is the third choice compared to an ageing Olivier Giroud and a young Tammy Abraham. It is understandable from Batshuayi’s point of view why Giroud may be ahead of him. But Abraham may be a harder pill to swallow and a step too far for Batshuayi to accept.
First of all, it goes under the radar that the striker is pretty clinical with the amount of game time he has got, scoring 19 goals in just 53 games for the Blues (Transfermarkt). In his first season in London, he scored five goals in only 236 minutes, which equals out as a goal every 47 minutes. In the current season, Batshuayi has managed three goals in a mere 134 minutes which is an average of a goal every 45 minutes (Transfermarkt). Yes, two of those goals might have come in the EFL Cup against Grimsby town (a game Chelsea won 7-1) but the only way to prove Batshauyi can’t do that in the Premier League as well is to play him in the first place.
As well as that Batshuayi has delivered when it has really mattered for Chelsea. Blues fans wont forget when he scored the goal to clinch the Premier League crown in 2016/17 in a 1-0 win over West Brom. Neither will they forget the winner against Atletico Madrid with the last kick of the game in the Champions League.
Lampard wants to keep all three strikers and Batshuayi does seem to want to stay but if Abraham continues to start over him with clubs interested, what lies ahead for the future? Batshuayi has played for and scored in four out of the five big European leagues as Abraham was in the second division. It becomes a matter of understanding, desire, and ability (tactically and otherwise).
So far, Lampard appears to prefer Abraham’s all-action style and rounded skillset. Giroud possesses something similar but has less of the speed. Batshuayi, ultimately, is more of a poacher. Conte preferred Diego Costa’s all-action style over Batshuayi’s poaching and it would not be hard to assume that Batshuayi is seeing a similar story playing out now.
Unfortunately, a mix of injury and a lack of playing time has taken away a lot of development years in Batshuayi’s young career. However, with Giroud also feeling the weight of lack of game time and admitting he might be forced to leave the club in January, it changes the whole context of everything. Should Giroud leave the club, Batshuayi would be the only other striker asides Tammy Abraham and with fixtures coming in thick and quick especially over the festive season, Abraham would ideally need a breather and Lampard would ideally slot Batshuayi as the next candidate (if Giroud truly wants to leave).
The forward showed glimpses of what he is capable of in pre-season, showing the ability to get shots off from various positions and creating chances out of nothing.
On the ball, he showed his pace and skill to dribble past defenders and get shots off, but Lampard has hinted that it’s Batshuayi’s off the ball work that he needs to improve.
However, with time this is something the forward can work on and with a coach that is willing to give him the chance, unlike Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, the Belgian could finally establish himself at Stamford Bridge.
Batshuayi also helps give Lampard a different tactical route as the forward can be very useful when playing in a two up top. In his time at Marseille, he showed he was capable of working in a two, and was successful doing so – scoring 17 goals in the 2015/16 season (Transfermarkt).
In pre-season, Lampard tried out the partnership of Batshuayi and Abraham upfront for the Blues. Considering it was the first time they had ever played together they were impressive in terms of movement giving the Chelsea boss another option that he could utilise as a different game-plan later on this season.
Michy Batshuayi has to leave Chelsea, for his own sake. It’s a decision he should have made years ago, and it’s perfectly possible he was keen for a permanent move away this summer until the transfer ban made it essential to keep him around.
He’s a series of failed loans, alternating with seasons sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge. He’s always been respectful and worked hard, not complaining about a lack of games, but at the moment his career is just evaporating from in front of his eyes.
For his own sake, it’s vital he makes a permanent move to a club where he can play every week, before it’s too late. A career in football is short, and Michy has wasted half of his trying to do the impossible and make himself Chelsea’s number one. Now that Tammy has the hot seat, it’s time for the Belgian to accept his time is up.
At 26, he is approaching the peak ages for a striker and it would be unwise to spend that time playing third option to a 22-year-old striker and a 33-year-old striker down the order. Fellow countryman Romelu Lukaku faced a similar ordeal when he saw himself lose his starting spot to Marcus Rashford. He went off to Italy and is already enjoying a brilliant start to his Inter career. Perhaps Batshuayi can take a cue from that.
Hopefully, he can make some big contributions between now and the end of the season, then go and finally start the next chapter of his career.