Belgian starlet Micky Batshuayi is all but confirmed to be a Chelsea FC player. Incoming manager Antonio Conte has been keeping tabs on the attacker, and it is reported that the 22-year-old has already passed his Chelsea medical.
Antonio Conte is currently enjoying the time of his life at Euro 2016, as his Italian side has been showing progress with every passing game. The run of good performances began by beating Belgium 2-0 in their first game at the tournament, and further escalated when his team dominated the ferocious Spanish outfit in Saint-Denis. A pragmatist – in the true sense of the word – can make the most of every single player he has at his disposal.
Taking that point into notice, Chelsea owner Roman Abrahimovich has roped in one of the most tactically astute managers in the footballing world today. Even though he’s with the national squad, Conte is voicing his opinion about the proceedings at Stamford Bridge. It is reported by Sky Sports, that the Belgian fledgling Michy Batshuayi is on the cusp of securing a dream move to the Blues, after successfully passing his medical.
Who is Michy Batshuayi?
Born in Belgium, this prolific striker is from Congolese heritage. Batshuayi began playing professionally at a nascent age of 10, for Belgian side RFC Evere. He then went on to play in the youth setups of Belgium’s most renowned clubs – Brussels, Anderlecht and Standard Liege. The attacker enjoyed successful stints with the under-16s and under-18s, before Liege made him put pen to paper on his first senior contract in early 2011.
It took him close to ten months to bag his first professional goal, but after that, the sky was the limit for the then 17-year-old sensation. He spent three fruitful seasons at Liege, scoring 39 goals over the course of 97 games, before Ligue 1 giants Marseille came knocking. At the Stade Velodrome, the Belgian tallied 62 appearances and netted 26 times.
How has he fared internationally?
His exploits saw him being rewarded a place in the u-21 Belgium squad. Another good run with the youngsters, saw Marc Wilmots call-up the Marseille striker to the senior team in March 2015. He made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Cyprus, and scored only minutes after coming on.
Impressed by his showings, Wilmots picked him for the Euro 2016 squad. Playing as a super-sub in Belgium’s 4-0 thumping of Hungary at the tournament, Batshuayi came on in the dying stages and scored from what was virtually his first touch of the contest.
Have a look at his first major tournament goal:
His style of play
Nicknamed ‘Batsman’, the Belgian striker is incredibly ambidextrous and a composed finisher inside the 18-yard-area. He is known to shrug off defenders and puts his 5 ft 11 inches frame to good use. He is also a threat from set-plays, as his movement inside the box can often cause defenders to take their eyes off the ball. Added to that skill set, he is a good header of the ball, ticking all boxes for the attributes an out-and-out striker should possess.
Michy Batshuayi: Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (81) & Andy Delort (62) had more shots on target in Ligue 1 last season than @mbatshuayi (58)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 29, 2016
However, he often suffers from lapses in concentration himself, and has the tendency to go missing in big games. He is not the best holder of the ball, and has often come under the cosh for losing possession. A passing accuracy of 74.9 per cent (via WhoScored) speaks volumes about his carelessness on the field of play.
Batshuayi also needs to spruce up his positional play, as he is often caught offside, breaking the flow of play for his side. Back in France, he has the reputation of being a ‘bad boy’, and manager like Antonio Conte would have to work on his attitude, if he is to bring the best out of the Belgian striker.
Where would he fit in?
Conte’s 3-5-2 system has guaranteed success with Italy, and unless something meteoric occurs, he is expected to field the same formation during his spell at Stamford Bridge. A two-striker system could see the Belgian partner the errant Diego Costa up-front.
While he’s spent the majority of his career playing as a lone striker, Batshuayi should have little trouble in getting used to a talisman alongside. His pace and incredible dribbling prowess could see him create a number of chances for Costa, who given his immaculate finishing skills, should have no problem in slotting them into the back of the net.
If Conte bends to the English philosophy and deploys a 4-2-3-1, there are two possible positions the Belgian forward could play in. One – as the focal point of Blues’ attack, playing as a number nine, or two – playing in the hole behind Diego Costa.
While both possibilities look probable, the second one seems more palpable. Costa’s lack of versatility and pace would prevent Conte from playing him a non-striking position. Batshuayi, on the other hand, is a young and diversified player and could acclimatise himself to any position the man in charge demands from him.
Too early to call him the next Didier Drogba
Michy Batshuayi is destined to complete a move from Marseille to Chelsea, just like Ivorian striker Didier Drogba did 12 seasons ago. He also comes with the same weight of expectations from the Chelsea faithful, and is expected to hit the ground running from his very first appearance.
However, it is too soon to term him as the next Drogba. Ideally, Batshuayi should not directly be put into the starting lineup, but given increasing minutes as the season progresses. For him to start scoring from day one in a tournament such as the Premier League, is a bit too much to ask for.
Also, the Ligue 1 is a completely different ball game as compared to England’s top-tier. A physical, pacey, and more demanding challenge awaits the Belgian striker once he completes his move to London.