'Looked like the one': Pat Nevin thought 23-year-old Chelsea sold was going to make it at the Bridge
Pat Nevin highlighted how Fikayo Tomori looked set for a long Chelsea career until he was sent off to AC Milan.
Speaking on the BBC Football Daily Podcast, Nevin was discussing Tomori’s decision to depart his boyhood club.
The 23-year-old made the bold judgement call in January to leave Stamford Bridge behind and seek refuge at the San Siro.
A verdict that cannot have been taken lightly.
He had just broken into the Chelsea first-team, thanks to Frank Lampard’s instalment at the helm.
Tomori played 22 times for the club legend in 2019/20, and that total would’ve been higher had the former not picked up a knock later in the term.
However, in a sudden turn of events, Lampard shut out the defender the following season.
No longer involved in the senior set-up, Tomori opted to join Milan on loan.
Another 22 appearances arrived for the centre-back, but in the red and black rather than blue.
His performances persuaded Milan to sign him permanently and also convinced Gareth Southgate to recall him for England duty.
Southgate selected Tomori for the latest round of World Cup qualifiers, an achievement made possible due to his Serie A switch.
Pat on the back
“Yeah, he’s improving, he’s getting better all the time,” said Nevin about the Milan maestro.
“Having said that, in his time at Chelsea at the start when he was getting in the team, he looked like the one.
“There was a small period where he looked like the first choice a lot of the time in that back three.
“So a lot of Chelsea fans were very surprised when he got let go.
“It’s a hard one to take if you are a young player, you’ve come on, you’re now in the England team and Chelsea let you go.
“Then you look at the Chelsea back line right now and they are champions of Europe, it’s hard to argue against it.
“Sometimes you have to move. You have to be brave enough to move.
“The fact Fikayo said ‘right okay, I’m brave enough, I’m strong enough and I’m going to move country.’ That takes bravery on its own.”
Tammy taking strides
Not many Englishmen cross the Premier League border into the continent and come out unscathed on the other side.
Plenty have tried; plenty have failed.
But Chelsea can boost two of their own who are currently bucking the trend.
Much like Tomori, Tammy Abraham left London for some Italian sunshine after his footballing life was covered in a dark cloud.
He joined Jose Mourinho in Rome over the summer, a partnership that is proving to be a positive one.
Abraham has four goals in ten outings for Roma, a return that Southgate clearly could not ignore.
The striker is also back in the England fold after a year’s absence.