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Ibrahima Bakayoko  FACTS
Born Seguela (Ivory Coast), 31 December 1976
Height 5' - 9" (180 cm)
Joined Everton from Montpellier Hrault in October 1998 (4,500,000)
Debut v Liverpool (h), 17 October 1998
Nicknames Yoko, Baka, Yoko-OhNo!
Left Everton for Olympique Marseille in June 1999 (4,000,000)
Finale (sub) v Southampton (a), 16 May 1999
Honours Ivory Coast International
Seasons Club Apps Gls
1998-1999 Montpellier Hrault 4 (2) 4
1997-1998 Montpellier Hrault 30 13
1996-1997 Montpellier Hrault ?? 1
1994-1995 Abidjan ?? ?

  • Likes to run at defences
  • Seems to have a nose for goals
  • One of the emerging African stars
  • Still pretty young and inexperienced
  • Gets caught in possession
  • Weeks off at the African Nations Cup
On the one hand, there were those who believed that, at 21, Bakayoko represented a superb investment in the future as well as being the most exciting attacking acquisition at Goodison since Andrei Kanchelskis signed from Manchester United in 1995.  On the other hand there were scurrilous rumours that Arsenal turned him down because a bone-scan showed his age to be closer to 31 than 21... and Arsenal have made diligent research into players a key part of their transfer policy.

Since 1995, Bakayoko had been plying his trade with French League side Montpellier Hrault and began the 1998-99 season in explosive form, scoring four goals in as many games.  The powerful Ivorian was awaiting the results of an application for French citizenship in the autumn of 1998 but felt the time was right to move on and join Everton, a club he regarded as being suitably bigger than Montpellier.

He was expected to operate centrally, behind the main striker, but he was also renowned to be very effective when he moved out wide, usually to the right wing.  He was not particularly tall as strikers go but, among his skills, he was thought to be a good crosser of the ball, which suggested he could provide chances for a partner who is strong in the air, like Duncan Ferguson. One month later, and Duncan was history...

Bakayoko added an explosive quality to the Blues' attack.  He had the potential to be an extremely lively player but his inability to cope with Premiership football's pace and aggression inevitably let him down.  On rare occasions, he showed he was very fast and penetrative with a very powerful shot.  His introduction to the rigours of the English game could not have been more traumatic, thrust in to a Merseyside derby – but he so nearly scored in the first minute!

After four months of valiant effort, the goals failed to materialise, with just five in his first 17 matches.  Add to that two missed penalties – including the crucial 6th penalty in the shoot-out against Sunderland – and it was hard to dispute claims that he looked like a very expensive flop.  The simplistic navet in his first games remained unchanged.  He was just not making any progress in the Premiership, and was dropped to the bench for an FA Cup tie against Coventry.

He got another chance at Blackburn, where he knocked in two excellent goals to give Everton a vital win over their relegation rivals.  This earned him another two ineffective starts before Walter Smith consigned him to cameo appearances from the subs bench.

With Everton facing financial uncertainty under a massive overdraft approaching 20M, cutting the wage bill and offloading marginal players became a close-season priority.  So, after the obligatory slew of false rumours, a good deal was done in the circumstances when Everton completed his transfer back to France, selling him to Marseille for 4M.

Look out for Bakayoko to dazzle us sometime in the future with a top European club...

Oct 1999: Aafter weaathcing Ibrahima score for Marseille against Manchester United at Old Trafford in tghe European "Champions" League, reports again surfaced claiming that Everton were conned into paying 4.5M for a player who was 8 years older than he said.  Baka claimed to be a youthful 21 years old yet the French coach of the Ivory Coast's top side, Jean-Marie Guillou, said "Bakayoko must be at least 30 because he was playing in the U-21s ten years ago."

Season Squad
1998-99 26 17 (6) 4 3 (2) 3 20 (8) 7

Totals: 17 (6) 4 3 (2) 3 20 (8) 7

Cup Statistics include all other non-league senior matches, as counted by Everton FC in the Matchday Programme

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Marko Poutiainen and Michael Kenrick 1999

Last update: 3 October 1999

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