Chelsea centerback Fikayo Tomori will soon move to Serie A giant AC Milan on loan for the remainder of the season. A £25m option to purchase clause has also been inserted into the deal, which has been accepted by the Blues. It’s important to note that the option to purchase is not an obligation, it is just a common practice carried out by Italian clubs. Such a clause was included in previous loan deals for Tiemoue Bakayoko at Milan, Nathaniel Chalobah at Napoli, as well as others.
It is extremely unlikely that option to purchase Tomori will be exercised, especially given Milan’s poor financial situation over the past few years. Just last year, the club was banned from competing in last year’s Europa League as a result of breaching Financial Fair Play rules. Spending £25 million for a third-choice defender could prove to be out of their reach. Even though Milan is on course to qualify for next year’s Champions League, which will bring in additional revenue, it is unlikely that it will spend all that money on one position rather than look to strengthen the team as a whole.
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Speaking of being a third-choice centreback, Tomori is joining a Milan side that is currently top of the Serie A. It currently has Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer as the first-choice centreback pairing, and Tomori will have to work extremely hard to threaten either of their spots in the starting line-up.
January loan deals can often be very tricky for players. Tomori is still young and may need some time to acclimatize himself to his new environment. He will also be playing with new teammates and under new management, so it is completely understandable if he needs a few weeks to settle in. With Milan in the title race, it is unlikely that he will get too many games in the Serie A unless there is an injury to either Romagnoli or Kjaer. However, Milan is in the knockout stages of the Europa League, and there is no better stage for him to show his abilities than that.
It is likely that the 23-year-old will get his first start in Europa League in one of two legs against Crvena Zvezda (yes that is an actual team and no, I haven’t got the slightest clue of how to pronounce it). Tomori will also look to cup games to get some game time. The English International will be determined to prove himself whenever given the opportunity to do so, whether in games or in training. It is up to him to make an instant impression on his new teammates and manager. Either way, being a third-choice at a club currently top of the league in Italy is far better than being the fifth-choice centreback at Chelsea.
If the impression that Tomori makes in Milan is a lasting one, which he certainly has the ability to do, then he could be in the reckoning for a regular starting spot. But until then, it is unlikely that Milan will exercise the option to buy Tomori at the end of his loan deal. It simply is not worth it for the Italians.
That being said, legendary defender and current technical director of AC Milan, Paulo Maldini, revealed that Tomori has been a target for the Italian club since last summer. Maldini also went on to praise Tomori, saying that he is the perfect defender for Milan’s squad. Therefore, one cannot completely rule out the option to buy clause being exercised, should Tomori impress.
Many choose to blame Frank Lampard for Tomori being loaned out, but with five defenders in the squad and an interest in the market for only one of them, Chelsea’s hands were pretty much tied in this situation. While questions could still be asked about why he received such little game time, Lampard still believes that the former Derby County Player of the Year still has a future at Chelsea, and I am inclined to believe him.
The Blues tried to sell both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in the summer. With both players having just 18 months remaining on their respective contracts, one can see the club trying to sell them again at the end of this season. This could open up a pathway for Tomori to get back into the team, as well as a pathway for the likes of Marc Guehi or the highly rated Xavier Mbuyamba.
What do you make of Tomori’s loan move, is it a good thing or a bad thing for the Blues? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!