Paolo Maldini has hinted that AC Milan will look to activate their option to buy Fikayo Tomori if the on-loan Chelsea defender continues to impress while on loan at San Siro.
Tomori partnered Simon Kjaer in the heart of the Milan defence for their 2-1 victory over Roma on Sunday having been preferred ahead of Italy international Alessandro Romagnoli.
Tomori moved to the Rossoneri in January having found himself marginalised under Frank Lampard with Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen ahead of him in the centre-back pecking order.
With Milan holding a £26.6million option to make his loan deal into a permanent, there is every chance the 23-year-old could have played his final game for the Blues.
Legendary former defender and now Milan director Maldini, who personally called Tomori to help facilitate the transfer at the start of the year, spoke before the win against Roma, which ensured Milan kept within four points of leaders Inter.
“I’m lucky enough to work in a club that calls when he calls. When Milan calls, it affects several players, even if we haven’t won the Champions League for 14 years,” he said of his influence in ensuring Tomori chose Milan.
“Fikayo has particular characteristics, intensity, speed. In our opinion it was a possible reinforcement for this season finale.
“There is an option to buy, it is very high, it will be an assessment between now and the end of the season whether to exercise it or not. It is a fairly clear situation.”
Tomori recently teased that maybe he will enjoy a “fairytale in Milan” having admitted he’s not spoken to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel yet.
Tuchel was asked about the centre-back’s situation earlier this month and indicated a decision won’t be made until the end of the season. By then, Milan may well have made their minds up.
“To be very honest, I did not spend too many minutes thinking about Tomori – not because I don’t like him and don’t see his potential, but there was simply no time,” Tuchel said.
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“We will have this talk in the next weeks and months about all the guys who are on loan. But of course, I have a general impression of Tomori, which is that he has high, high potential, but I’m not into details right now. The time will come for that.”
With Silva likely to stay another season at Stamford Bridge and Tuchel having reinvigorated the Chelsea careers of Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicute, who’s been converted into a centre-back, Tomori doesn’t appear to have an obvious path into the first team for next season.