Chelsea FC

Chelsea's decision to loan out Fikayo Tomori is wrong - he should be playing

Daniel Feliciano
Jan 19, 2021, 5:00 PM GMT
Fikayo Tomori is set to join AC Milan on loan
Fikayo Tomori is set to join AC Milan on loan | Marc Atkins/Getty Images
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Arguably the biggest move of the transfer window so far in the Premier League is happening at Stamford Bridge, as Fikayo Tomori is set to leave Chelsea on loan for AC Milan.

The 23-year-old has barely featured for the Blues this season, making two starts in the Carabao Cup before a combined 55 minutes in two substitute appearances in the FA Cup and Premier League.

Chelsea's first choice centre back pairing have been largely good this season
Chelsea's first choice centre back pairing have been largely good this season | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Since the arrival of Thiago Silva at Stamford Bridge, Frank Lampard's first choice pairing has been clear. Silva and Kurt Zouma have started the vast majority of games together this season, with Andreas Christensen being the first centre back to step in with any change when fit.

Tomori started the year as the fourth choice, after Antonio Rudiger fell out with Lampard in the summer. Since then though, Rudiger and Lampard have made up and the German has pushed himself up to third in the pecking order, meaning Tomori is not even making match-day squads on a regular basis.

It's a decision that has left many Chelsea fans scratching their heads and questioning their manager.

Lampard has said in recent weeks that he and the club have 'a long term plan' for Tomori, but nobody is really sure the plan makes sense. He is set to join Milan on loan for the rest of the season, but the Italian side may have the option to make the deal permanent for £25m.

That doesn't sound like the club have much faith in his future. If you have a player that is only 23 years old and has come through your academy, the chances are that he probably has a role to play in your team.

Nobody is suggesting for a moment that Tomori should be the first-choice starter, that honour has been given to the two best defenders at the club right now. It's more about how he's been dealt with since he's not first choice.

He was impressive last season but then had a dip in form and has since been thrown to the curb ever since. Christensen has been shaky since forever at the top level and Rudiger has largely been poor for Chelsea over the last 18 months. There's also the fact that Rudiger had a public fall out and is now back and ranked ahead of everyone.

Lampard knows Tomori better than anyone at Chelsea. He was Derby's player of the year during Lampard's first year of management and then he made a point to keep hold of him and Mason Mount during the first campaign in west London.

Now though, Tomori has been outcast. Chelsea are willing to loan out their best central defender from the academy since John Terry and leave his development in the hands of another club, while two defenders who don't have long-term futures at the club eat up his minutes.

Lampard and Tomori were together at Derby
Lampard and Tomori were together at Derby | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Tomori would be much better equipped staying at the club he wants to be at long-term, playing in the system and environment that supposedly has a plan for him, alongside the players he should be seeing alongside him for the next ten years in Reece James, Mount and Tammy Abraham.

There's no reason he shouldn't be getting the minutes this season that Christensen and Rudiger are getting instead. He's rapid, strong, a great reader of the game, good on the ball and has a decent spring for aerial duels despite being fairly short for a centre back.

If the height is the issue, which it could be considering Chelsea's record from set-pieces last year, then it's not going to change and they may as well let him go permanently. But it's hard to believe that is the reason he isn't playing.

Tomori should be getting the minutes of Christensen and Rudiger alongside his fellow academy graduates
Tomori should be getting the minutes of Christensen and Rudiger alongside his fellow academy graduates | ANP Sport/Getty Images

He's a better option as a back up defender than both of the current alternatives and surely the club's best interests are to develop their own players that they want to use in the first team in the future.

Chelsea have too many options in central defence right now and one of them should be allowed to leave, but that one should not be Tomori.

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