Chelsea fans were in disbelief after hearing that Paulo Maldini had wanted Fikayo Tomori to join AC Milan for over a year.
Tomori is on the verge of joining the Serie A leaders on loan and his move has been made even more tantalising after Maldini’s comments.
Milan’s technical director is arguably the greatest defender of a generation and admitted he ‘saw the quality to throw him (Tomori) into the mix with our current defender’ (Sky Sports).
There a few greater compliments in sport than being admired by a Milan’s all-time record appearance maker and general footballing legend.
It certainly reflects well on Tomori’s CV but perhaps less so on Frank Lampard’s.
Fabrizio Romano repeated the hallowed words on social media, sending some supporters into a frenzy.
Lampard has frozen the 23-year-old out of his present plans but did make assurances that Tomori would “absolutely” have a future at Stamford Bridge (via Chelsea Youtube channel).
This has not eased the tension between manager and those who are desperate to see Tomori in a Chelsea kit.
Their confusion was heightened following the statement from Maldini, with many failing to understand how Lampard was able to let go of such a prestigiously viewed talent.
The deal currently stands at a season-long loan with a £25m (Sky Sports) option to buy. This addition to the transfer had many worrying that they would never see the young defender at Chelsea again.
Milan were initially after Strasbourg centre-back Mohamed Simakan until the Frenchman sustained a knee injury. They instead turned to Tomori, who has only started twice this season.
Maldini won seven Italian championships during his illustrious career and is currently overseeing Milan’s latest title challenge lead by Stefan Pioli.
They will hope Tomori can bolster the fourth meanest defence in the division and wave off any challengers.
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If Maldini speaks, you take notice. Whether or not he has actually been following Tomori for such a long time is irrelevant. When you are summoned by a demi-god, it is an instruction not an invitation.
I hope that people don’t get too fixated on this however. Tomori may struggle at Milan, weighed down by the burden of Maldini’s respect, which may haunt him if he returns to Chelsea.
Allow him the fanfare of course, but let his football do the real talking.