Tiemoue Bakayoko is finally a Chelsea player and he may have to thank Claude Makelele for helping him seal a move to the Premier League champions.
The Frenchman was expected to join the Blues back in June but minor knee surgery had delayed the midfielder from putting pen to paper.
Given the move is now complete, the 23-year-old could well be getting in contact with Makelele for the role he played in saving his Monaco career.
The former Blues midfielder, who became technical director at Monaco in January 2016, helped Bakayoko at a time when he was struggling under Leonardo Jardim.
Bakayoko, who was hauled off 32 minutes into his Monaco debut in 2014, was transformed into one of the club’s key players and it was all thanks to Makelele’s words of wisdom.
Makelele, in an interview with Goal, explained the role he played in Bakayoko’s transformation from substitute at Monaco to the second most expensive player in Chelsea’s history.
“When I came [to Monaco] I saw him on the bench. He never played or was a substitute, I’m like OK. I’d seen a lot of video of him, so I come to see him in the training ground,” said Makelele.
“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.”