Out of the many disappointing summer departures from Chelsea’s talented crop of youngsters, Fikayo Tomori’s might be considered one of the most painful.
Given the fact, Tomori joined AC Milan on loan in January halfway through last season after being a pretty obvious outcast under Frank Lampard following a breakthrough under the club icon in 2019.
Even with Lampard’s departure, the hopes of him returning were slim with the English defender quickly becoming a regular part of the Rossoneri’s defence under Stefano Pioli in the second half of 2020/21, leading to the inevitable activation of the £25 million fee in June.
Tomori continues his development into one of Europe’s best defenders in Serie A, with his Cobham peer Tammy Abraham joining Roma in August. Both moves are tinged with a feeling of regret that the club has lost some top-class talents who could have been utilised better in the current first-team squad.
The tale of Tomori’s exit comes into effect with Conor Gallagher’s loan move to Crystal Palace this season, where the midfielder has consistently shone to become Patrick Vieira’s standout talent and one of the Premier League’s most exciting players.
It says a lot about the quality of Gallagher that in a matter of months he’s established himself as a ready-made Premier League figure, whilst also sparking many Chelsea fans to consider his return as a matter of urgency heading into 2022, when his time with the Eagles will end.
It now seems his performances have sparked Chelsea to take a pretty strong transfer stance on Gallagher, refusing to add an option to buy in his loan move and now will not be selling him anytime soon.
As per a report from The Daily Mail, there were several clubs including Leeds and Newcastle who were looking to take the midfielder on an initial loan, with an option to buy next summer.
Gallagher’s senior England debut for Gareth Southgate on Monday against San Marino further elevated an already prosperous start to the season for the loanee, whose presence will be instrumental for Vieira on Saturday when Palace travel to face Burnley.
His continued impressive showings are clearly forcing Chelsea’s board to reconsider their future squad plans, probably scarred by the summer exodus of young talent. In his current form, Gallagher will be unlikely to accept a sporadic role or another loan elsewhere next summer.
Especially when you factor in the possibility of a host of top-flight clubs testing the Blues firm stance with offers and the likely guarantee of a regular starting place, which is much tougher to secure in west London.
Just like you, we can’t get enough of Chelsea! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive Chelsea coverage on football.london with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to Chelsea fans – CareFreeChelsea.
Writers and presenters who share your passion for the Blues will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.
The disappointing loss of Tomori, and then Marc Guehi to Palace, has added further intensity to the current concern of the contractual situations of four senior defenders in Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta, who could all leave in 2022. Which in turn could lead to Chelsea being forced to spend big in the transfer market to resolve this issue before next season.
Whether the smart clause put in by Marina Granovskaia for Gallagher is in response to Tomori’s departure specifically, it is probably too simple to presume. But it should stand as a future lesson to Chelsea of securing the future of young talent and trying to think beyond the next nine months.
Follow our CareFreeChelsea writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section.