‘He surprised me’: Chiellini says he didn’t know how good defender was because of his time at Chelsea

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has told The Times that he was unaware how good former Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori was before he left Stamford Bridge.

The Englishman took the plunge to join AC Milan just over a year ago on loan, where he turned out to be an important player in them winning their first Serie A title in a decade.

He soon made his switch permanent, and has gone to levels such as learning the language to a standard where he can complete interviews in Italian.

Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The Blues have since been left to rue their mistake of letting him go, with his minutes decreasing under former manager Frank Lampard seemingly out of nowhere.

Tomori impresses Chiellini

LAFC star Chiellini has claimed that he was surprised with how impressive Tomori has been in Serie A since making the switch, saying he would never have expected his importance following his time at Chelsea.

He said: “He surprised me because I saw him in Chelsea and I didn’t think he could be so strong in the box attentive for 90 minutes. He is one of the keys of Milan winning last year.”

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Tomori can be added to the name of Marc Guehi as defenders who have since thrived in their careers since being let go by the Blues, with both appearing for their county since their moves.

Guehi has even been named Crystal Palace captain, with his leadership qualities beginning to show as he impresses across London.

With the new owners forced to spend big to replace the departing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen last summer, you can’t help but wonder if the club could have put that money elsewhere if they’d have kept hold of players like Tomori, who was by no means looking for regular starts during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Jack is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has freelanced for The Athletic and The Sun. Jack has reported live from Premier League and Championship grounds, whilst also being published in the Non League Paper.