Amadou Bakayoko is a player who cannot be faulted for his work-rate and commitment to the Sky Blues cause, nonetheless, it was a surprise to see the club take the option to extend his contract this summer as we prepare for the Championship. A tall yet very mobile striker who is willing to constantly chase down defenders, Amadou Bakayoko can make himself a real handful for the opposition to deal with, it’s just a lack of quality in his finishing and intelligence in his movement to get into goalscoring positions that has meant Mark Robins has been unable to rely upon Bakayoko to be our main centre-forward during his two seasons at the club thus far.
Whether the extension to the player’s contract this summer was because Mark Robins believes he can eventually coax the player out of Bakayoko that he can be or was maybe a pragmatic move in the hope of securing some kind of fee for a player we would have otherwise received nothing for remains to be seen. There may be some encouragement for Bakayoko to take from his performance against Birmingham City in the FA Cup Replay back in February that he wouldn’t be out of his depth at Championship level. Bakayoko’s combination of his physical frame and that turn of pace he has can unsettle even defenders at a higher-level than he’s played at before. He could have a useful role to play either to wear defences down to create space for others or as a late sub to stretch teams, but that is likely to depend on whether Mark Robins adds a striker or two more to the squad.
It’s fair to say that this season will represent Amadou Bakayoko’s biggest challenge during his time at the club. Not only is he stepping up a division but he is likely to find opportunities to get on the pitch fewer and further between than over the past two seasons. Bakayoko is going to have to make any opportunity he gets count. He has the potential to close to the complete centre-forward, however, this is now the time to add consistency and quality to his game.