Chelsea striker, Michy Batshuayi, has attracted attention in the past few months from clubs around Europe. The Belgian is still looking to gain regular playing time at Stamford Bridge, and a prospective loan move in January excites many. There were talks in October of Italian clubs AC Milan and Napoli eyeing him in the upcoming transfer window.
Now, as The Guardian reported earlier in the week, there was interest from fellow Premier League club, West Ham United. The Hammers are looking for reinforcements up front, and Slavan Bilić could offer Batshuayi the first-team football he has been missing at Chelsea. The Blues, however, are unwilling to let the 23-year-old starlet leave.
Opportunities on the horizon
Diego Costa has been in lethal form this season for Chelsea, and hence it is hardly surprising that Batshuayi is yet to start a Premier League game. The former Olympique Marseille man scored against Watford in August, before netting twice in the EFL Cup second round win over Bristol Rovers. Since then, game time has been few and far between.
The striker is set to get his chance on Boxing Day against Bournemouth, with Costa being suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card on the weekend. Batshuayi must be relishing the opportunity to prove his worth at last, and it is one that he must make full use of.
The FA Cup starts in January, and this is a competition in which Antonio Conte is likely to field a second-string team. Batshuayi is a player with a bright future ahead of him, but it is vital that he gets as much time on the pitch as possible. The upcoming months should see him featuring more, with the wear-and-tear of the campaign catching up on some other individuals.
Lack of options
Chelsea don’t really have too many back-up plans if Costa were to get injured. They loaned out the likes of Loic Remy, Bertrand Traore, Tammy Abraham, and Patrick Bamford during the summer, and only have Batshuayi and Dominic Solanke to fall back upon. Solanke is 18 years old, and has minimal experience at the highest level. Hence, Batshuayi could become a very important part of the first-team were Costa to get sidelined.
It is with good reason that Chelsea are dealing with this situation very cautiously. While there is no doubt that the £32 million recruit should be playing regularly to develop fully, the club cannot afford to risk being threadbare in the striking department. It is difficult to see anyone replacing Costa at the moment, but circumstances can change very quickly.
For now, Batshuayi is a Chelsea player and is likely to remain so — even after the January transfer window.