Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 4:00 PM• Tom Rofekamp • Last update: 16:05

The appointment of Ruud van Nistelrooij as PSV head coach offers opportunities for players he already has under his wing at the club’s promise team this year. As the apple of the former top striker’s eye, the door to the first team seems to be open for Johan Bakayoko (19). In collaboration with Voetbalzone, FootballTransfers takes a look at the young attacker who not only shows similarities with Noni Madueke.

It should come as no surprise that Bakayoko is working on his breakthrough at PSV. The Belgian youth international has been known for years as a great talent. As a youth player, the wing attacker played for OH Leuven, Club Brugge, KV Mechelen and RSC Anderlecht, before making the switch to De Herdgang in 2019. When he arrived, the then sixteen-year-old Bakayoko was described by PSV as a ‘left-footed, skilled, agile and explosive player’. These qualities can also be attributed to Madueke, one year older, who is already a bit further in his development. This can also be seen in the mutual difference in transfer value. Where according to Madueke Football Transfers represents a value of twelve million euros, Bakayoko is worth 1.3 million euros.

Most important player Young PSV
Bakayoko’s value can quickly increase as soon as he gets more opportunities in PSV’s main squad. Van Nistelrooij will undoubtedly give it to him next season. The former striker of, among others, Manchester United and Real Madrid and the people of Eindhoven themselves recently announced that he would definitely transfer the Belgian attacker to the first team. Van Nistelrooij has his reasons for this.

No player has been as important to Jong PSV this season as Bakayoko. On average, the youngster was directly involved in a goal every 85 minutes. At the end of the competition, Bakayoko has 17 goals and 11 assists. On the top scorers list of the Kitchen Champion Division, the left foot occupies sixth place, while only eight players provided more assists. Jong PSV scored a total of 61 times this season, which means that Bakayoko was involved in almost half of all Eindhoven goals.

Bakayoko made his debut in the PSV main squad on 8 February. As a substitute, he got eight minutes of playing time in the 4-0 cup match against NAC Breda. A month later, the winger again received playing time from the coach Roger Schmidt, who was departing after this season. In the injury time of the home game against Heracles Almelo (3-1) Bakayoko replaced Joey Veerman. It was his Eredivisie debut for the Belgian, who is still in the Philips Stadium until the summer of 2025. After that, the attacker was included one more time in the match selection of the first, but when visiting SC Cambuur (1-2) the left leg did not get off the bench. Bakayoko has recently made his playing minutes ‘normal’ at Jong PSV.

According to FootballTransfers, Bakayoko is one of the most valuable players in the Kitchen Champion Division. Only six players, including Jong Ajax players Naci Ünüvar (2.4 million euros), Youri Regeer (2.3 million euros) and Jong AZ attacker Ernest Poku (1.4 million euros), are currently worth more than the Belgian. Bakayoko is the most valuable player in the selection of ‘his’ Jong PSV. Fodé Fofana (1 million euros), Dante Sealy (800,000 euros), Shurandy Sambo (400,000 euros), Jeremy Antonisse (400,000 euros) and Mathias Kjölö (400,000 euros) come closest to Bakayoko.

Van Nistelrooij has high expectations of the attacker, who easily dribbles past opponents and has an excellent long shot in the legs. In January, Schmidt’s successor was still full of praise for his pupil. “He is so dominant, sometimes you forget that he is eighteen (Bakayoko is now nineteen, ed.)”, the trainer said to ESPN after the 5-1 win over Almere City. Van Nistelrooij agreed with Bakayoko’s potential. “He’s a boy who, if he continues to invest in what he’s doing now, hopefully at the end of the season can make a nice step towards first. He’s worked hard on multiple facets of his game, and that’s showing through now. Maintaining this level in the longer term is his goal.”

Bakayoko is also satisfied with the development he has made in the past year. “It has been a great season, which I can already look back on very satisfied. Seeing from minute one to minute 90 if there is anything to force, that’s what I’ve learned this season. And of course also play under resistance,” the attacker recently told the Eindhovens Dagblad† “I am happy that I was allowed to learn in this season and at the same time we have also achieved great things together with Jong PSV.”