Why Michy Batshuayi’s struggling to shake off substitute tag after stuttering start at Valencia. Michy Batshuayi headed off to Valencia in the hope of first team football and the chance to get his career back on track after a stuttering start to life at Chelsea.
To say that the striker was underused by Antonio Conte is something as an understatement as he made just one start in the Premier League in his first season at the club, that coming after the Blues had already wrapped up the title.
He then made just three starts the following year before being shipped off on loan to Borussia Dortmund in January once the Blues brought in Olivier Giroud from Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed to the Gunners.
Batshuayi hit the best form of his career since moving from Marseille as he netted seven goals in ten Bundesliga appearances, while bagging another two in the Europa League before picking up an injury in April that cut his season short.
With Conte heading out and Maurizio Sarri coming in, there was a chance that the Belgium international might get the chance to fight for a starting spot in west London, but that wasn’t the case.
Despite Alvaro Morata struggling for form in pre-season and Giroud the only back senior back-up, Batshuayi went off to Valencia to join Marcelino’s side to get his opporunities.
“There were plenty of clubs who wanted to sign me but after talking to Marcelino, a bond was generated and he convinced me to sign,’ he said during his unveliing.
“This is a strong team who play in the Champions League and fight against the best, but what convinced me most was my conversation with the coach.
“I’ve come here to play for a Valencia side who want to play more than four games in the Champions League. My wish is to win a title with Valencia this season.”
However, three games in and it is a familiar story for the 24-year-old who is struggling to get game time once again at the Mestalla, despite a 4-4-2 system that might well suit Batshuayi more.
The striker just got 14 minutes of time against Atletico Madrid, 16 minutes in the defeat at Espanyol and another 22 minutes in the draw to Levante.
A total of 52 minutes from three matches isn’t the start that Batshuayi would have wanted, but the worrying thing is that seems to be that Batshuayi, at the moment is down the pecking.
Spain international Rodrigo has started all three of the games, while Santiago Mina was given the nod for the opening two matches. However, when he was replaced in the starting line-up it was not Batshuayi who was given the chance, but summer signing from Atletico Kevin Gameiro.
Despite it being very early days, the worries are there that Batshuayi might have to endure another frustrating time trying to get his chance in the side, looking to fight for a spot once again.
Keep up to date with the latest news, features and exclusives from football.london via the free football.london app for iPhone and Android .