Johan Bakayoko

A cutout photo of PSV Eindhoven's Johan Bakayoko set against a white background
Stephen Ganavas

February 7, 2024

Who is Johan Bakayoko?

It’s hard to turn down the Premier League. But in the summer of 2023, Johan Bakayoko bet on himself, turning down both Burnley and Brentford in order to remain at PSV Eindhoven, aiming to further develop his game before an eventual move in the future.

It wasn’t the worst idea. He had only been an established starter at PSV for around six months — after the departure of Noni Madueke. 

Now in hindsight, it was a brilliant idea. His PSV team are well-clear at the top of the Eredivisie at the time of writing, while Bakayoko’s form has been impressive.

The suitors haven’t disappeared. In fact, there will probably be more, and potentially higher profile ones, in the future.

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Johan Bakayoko's style of play

Bakayoko is a great all-rounder. In essence, he can do everything you need from a winger, both in the traditional and modern sense. For the traditionalists, he can whip a mean in-swinging cross in from the right. For the modernists, he can dribble inside and unleash on goal.

His crossing in particular is truly special, and having Luuk de Jong as a target to aim in the box at has brought him plenty of rewards. His delivery is so consistent, and always has such a nice trajectory. Not too looped, not too flat, not too quick, not to slow: just right.

This crossing ability extends towards his ball-striking too, as you will see from most of the players you typically associate with good crossing. Players like Kevin de Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

There is a lot he can do in between as well, though. His ability to retain possession is excellent — underpinned by a robust physicality.

He is delightfully balanced, setting his feet and positioning his body well to ride contact, and his core strength allows him to stay upright and work his way through what he actually wants to do with possession.

He does not need explosive speed to be effective — although he isn’t massively lacking in this department either. Everything about his game just screams efficiency, which is not something you can often say about a 20-year-old player.

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Johan Bakayoko is a great all-rounder, but his signature skill is his ability to hit consistently excellent in-swinging crosses.

Johan Bakayoko does not have any glaring weaknesses, although he does lack a touch of the explosive speed we would generally expect from high potential wide players.

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