Michy Batshuayi signed for Chelsea with a growing reputation, but he hasn’t been given the opportunities that many expected him to have. The latest snub came on Tuesday as he didn’t start, despite the absence of Alvaro Morata. Antonio Conte opted for Eden Hazard as a lone striker and his Belgian team-mate had to make do with a cameo from the bench. When he signed from Marseille, he was young and could spend some time operating in a lesser role. However, he is now 24 and ready for a prolonged run in the first-team. If that isn’t going to come at Stamford Bridge, he needs to force a move away from the club.
The Belgian international has only started three matches across the Premier League and the Champions League. Across the two competitions, he is averaging a goal every 85 minutes, which shows that he is capable of making an impact, but Conte doesn’t fancy him as having starting quality. If he remains at Chelsea, he will mainly be used as a supporting member of the squad, with cup competitions providing his best chance of action.
If there was an opportunity to make a claim in the absence of Morata, there would be a reason for Batshuayi to stay at Stamford Bridge. However, as the trip to Huddersfield Town shows, the striker isn’t trusted by his manager. They were playing against a promoted team. It isn’t like this was a huge game against a top-six rival. This was a game that the champions should be winning, and they did with relative ease, but the use of the Belgian international was telling of his squad status.
There were many that were pushing for Batshuayi to move in the summer, but he chose to stay with Chelsea to see if his fortunes would change after his debut campaign. There have been some positive signs, as he scored the winner against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. However, he has returned to being an impact sub and the latest indication of how Conte thinks of him came in the EFL Trophy. He was asked to play for the Chelsea U23s and scored twice against MK Dons.
The World Cup is on the horizon and Batshuayi will want to go into the competition in good form. He is unlikely to start for Belgium, but he will be given minutes if he goes into the summer on the back of a run of goals in the Premier League or another major European league. In his current role, he will make the squad, but Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Christian Benteke will be favoured by Roberto Martinez.
Batshuayi hasn’t been a flop at Chelsea. He just hasn’t been given a fair chance. Every time he has been given an opportunity, he has carried a goal threat and contributed in the final third. He scored the title-winning goal, the winner against Atletico and a brace against Watford to relieve the pressure on the team after a poor run. The 24-year-old has contributed vital moments in his short time at Stamford Bridge, yet he continues to be overlooked.
Since joining Chelsea, he has totalled only 456 minutes in the Premier League and if he continues to carry out this role, his development will be stunted. There is no reason to push for a permanent move away from the club, but a loan move is necessary to prove to his current boss that he can be a regular goal-scorer in the Premier League. There are a number of clubs that would benefit from signing the Belgian and a January loan move could be best for all parties involved.