Age: 23 *
At Club Since: Summer 2018
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 28(7) *
For much of the season, the question with Amadou Bakayoko was, ‘why have we signed this player?’ He looked every part the panic signing – we could have signed him on a free transfer had we moved earlier last summer – who not only had a poor track record at his previous club but was very similar to two existing players on our books in Jonson Clarke-Harris and Maxime Biamou. While Bakayoko had barely been given a run in the side up until the end of January, he had done little in the appearances he had been afforded to justify his inclusion ahead of our other strikers.
Since being given a chance following the departure of Jonson Clarke-Harris – who has gone on to become one of the country’s most in-form strikers at Bristol Rovers – Bakayoko has started to come into his own. Although he’s hardly the most convincing of centre-forwards in his all-round technique, Bakayoko has demonstrated a prodigious work-rate and turn of pace and is starting to become something of a menace for opposing defences. It is a similar transformation from cumbersome no-hoper to fan favourite that we saw last season in Maxime Biamou, which is a testament to the coaching ability of Mark Robins and his back-room staff. Whether Bakayoko can get much better than he is currently playing at the moment remains to be seen – perhaps he might retreat into his old self with a different cast of attacking players operating behind him next season – but what he’s doing at the moment is working and he is improving his game on a weekly basis as his confidence grows. ’20 goals Bakayoko’ is starting to look less ironic.
*As of 19/04/2019