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Friday March 26 2021
Tomori earning rave reviews at Milan

Deemed surplus to requirements under Frank Lampard, Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori has fully embraced the opportunity at Milan who should not think twice about a permanent stay, writes Matt Santangelo.

Frozen out of the picture at Chelsea under Frank Lampard, Fikayo Tomori headed to Milan on loan this past January. The Italian side held an estimated €28 million option to make the  move permanent and will make “everything” to redeem him from the Blues, said the honorary Rossoneri vice president Franco Baresi.

In search of quality minutes to aid in his growth, Tomori became the primary target for the Rossoneri’s slim defensive line soon after Strasbourg’s Mohamed Simakan picked up an injury that kept him sidelined for several months.

Based on the performances, the 23-year old England international has logged, however, one may argue he should have been the primary market objective all along.

Catapulted into Milan’s quest for Serie A supremacy, Tomori’s gradual ascent began when he came on as an early substitute against rivals Inter in the Coppa Italia.

He replaced the injured Simon Kjaer in a game decided by a Christian Eriksen free-kick, the two best Danish Players in Serie A.

In defeat, the former Derby County standout made an excellent first impression, proving himself to be an exemplary professional and possessing the necessary quality to perform at a high level for a club with Milan’s lofty ambitions.

Athletic, pacy and with technical ability, Tomori’s recovery speed amongst a less than quick central defensive group has been a refreshing sight, complimenting veteran Kjaer quite well.

At the same time, he’s been a key reason contributing to the unseating of captain Alessio Romagnoli from the starting XI; look no further than the crucial victory over Roma a few weeks back to support.

Tracking the Giallorossi’s attack from the midfield, Tomori channelled his speed at the right moment, accelerating to execute a perfectly-timed tackle on Lorenzo Pellegrini to cut down a dangerous goalscoring chance that ultimately helped secure the win.

Romagnoli’s vulnerability to being beaten in a high-line setup this season has made Tomori highly compatible with Kjaer, with two contrasting profiles catering to one another’s main strengths.

Unlike the Italian who has looked non-committal and fearful of costly errors of late, Tomori confronts each challenge with intent to win the battle or ball.

Playing under Pioli, a former defender himself and a coach with an impetus on purposeful attacking tactics, Tomori’s already strong ability to carry the ball out the back and take on more progressive duties further up the pitch is exactly what Milan require to further modernise their play style.

While new Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has completely rejuvenated the Blues’ fortunes as both UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists and solidified top four contenders yet again, there is still regret with how Tomori’s case was handled.

His exclusion from Lampard’s squad remains a bit of a mystery, but a silver lining for the Londoners exists. Thiago Silva’s presence has provided veteran stability and the strength in numbers Chelsea has in their defensive department could make Tomori a bit expendable while recouping a fair sum in a hypothetical stay at San Siro.

Seldom putting a single foot wrong, Tomori has made such a statement that it is hard to imagine Milan having any reservations over his option.

Though it may appear steep in football’s current economic climate, as both Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara have pointed out in recent quotes, there is a mutual understanding by all at the club to find a permanent solution. What could this mean for Romagnoli?

The Italy international’s current contract is set to expire in June 2022 and with agent Mino Raiola seeking a substantial pay raise for his client in a new deal, perhaps he can serve as a makeweight for Elliott to break even.

As Milan fight on the pitch to secure top four and renew key stars such as Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu, a lot rests on the final months of the season to better understand the future outlook of the club.

@Matt_Santangelo

Have your say...
Leading article on FI this morning: Raiola asks for 6mm for Romagnoli renewal. CALLED IT. Thank you for your service, but your time at Milan is over.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 2:41pm
I wouldn't say he's getting "rave reviews" he's just a breath of fresh air. We're used to having slow, not overly physical defenders with good mentality and experience (Alex, Paletta, Bonucci, Mexes etc..) so to have someone who already has good physical prowess who can then be moulded by the experience around him (Maldini + Baresi's words of encouragement, Kjaer's cool head and experience) I think this could make him a champion in the long run but it's early days so let's not judge him yet.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 9:46am
Lol yes we will. Can’t see anyone affording 100m+ and wouldn’t sell for less. Spanish league is in a bigger hole than serie a. He isn’t going back to the EPL. He and the rest of the squad have bought into the project to take us back to the top. And the team is certainly capable with another couple of signings. You may not want to believe it but unfortunately top 4 is slipping away from you guys. Will be interesting if pioli can get players back in form. Too late I think.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 9:12am
@Inter

You do realise that everyone see through your BS right? Lol.. Don't waste our time. Sure no-one can affords Lukaku... will see mate, will see
on the 29th March, 2021 at 7:35pm
Speaking of gone players, rumors are swirling that donnas already signed pre contract elsewhere.. calhanoglu also gone by the looks of it. Not a big loss there though, too inconsistent. You guys def need a striker. I’d be looking at someone like immobile who could be in your budget, or even dzeko or giroud. Belotti and co well out of your budget I think.
on the 29th March, 2021 at 11:10am
Haha you guys are great. If suning were in such dire need, they’d have accepted bf partners offer. They are going to stay in charge once they navigate COVID, we only getting stronger sorry!! But it’s good for Italy to have 1 world class squad. Every season everyone’s leaving but no1 does, nobody can afford lukaku in today’s world!! Milan will finish 5th unless juve bomb out I think, Atalanta and Napoli both have far easier runs home
on the 29th March, 2021 at 11:06am
@Inter I would be a lot more worried about losing Lukaku which is 50% of Inter performance rather than talk Bs about Milan. He is gone next seasons believe that. Are you seriously still claiming milan won't make it top 4?? 
on the 28th March, 2021 at 7:41pm
@maldinis heir

Absolutely right, move mountains to get dybala, great for marketing and give Milan a genuine world star. Imagine him and ibra...oooh sexy.

Let juve waste another season on an entitled over the hill goat who consumes 30% of their wage bill.
on the 28th March, 2021 at 7:38pm
@Pauly. Read our previous comments, but to reiterate: Romagnoli has one year left on his salary. If we give him one more year and he doesn't improve we will get nothing for him. If he does, Raiola will ask for 6mm per year salary. If we renew now at a more modest rate, but he doesn't improve we're stuck with an overpaid player that will not fetch much on the market or may refuse to lose his overpriced salary. And so we'll have Montolivo Part II. I say part ways now and get as much as you can.
on the 28th March, 2021 at 5:46pm
The real dilemma is what impact does that have on Romagnoli? He will play less often which for our captain isn't good and I think a captain needs to be be playing, putting in quality performances week in week out like Kessie does. Do we keep him or sell him? I say keep, try and get him to recover form. If he doesn't recover his form then sell next summer. He will be useful for the season ahead but after that if its not working he has to move on - i doubt he will complain either tbh
on the 28th March, 2021 at 1:29am
@Vero Rossanero @Maldini's Heir Guys I think we all agree Tomori is worth signing for €28m. He has been very impressive on so many levels, he's 23, hasn't played much this season prior to joining us, and went straight into the Milan derby on his debut like he just rocked up to training. He can play on both left and right side of CB and can comfortably play both footed. He occasional has got caught out of position but his speed makes him recover. Imagine how good he will be after 1-2 years
on the 28th March, 2021 at 1:24am
If Dybala’s available surely we need to go all in for him. He could play central or out wide, so would kill two birds....
on the 27th March, 2021 at 9:32pm
@Milan Fan. Good point re Caldara. That may be the lowest cost solution in the end if Romagnoli goes, if not Maksimovic or Cistana on a free. Tomori, Kjaer, Gabbia, Caldara.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 8:20pm
@Inter

You're totally jokes man! u should worry about your own club and their inability to pay their player wage bills. the only one thing that preventing Elliott to spend big is FFP.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 2:59pm
it is pretty astounding that tomori has been able to adapt so quickly to a new team, league and country. he does look like the real deal in terms of a defender
on the 27th March, 2021 at 9:45am
@ Vero Rossonero I’m torn. What I don’t want is our captain sitting on the bench next season. There’s a few CB’s available for free so many we cash in and find someone who will be fourth choice behind Kjær, Tomori and Gabbia. Like I said if Romagnoli could recover his form then we’re sorted for CBs for the next 10 years.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 8:24am
Money is the only factor here, he should be signed regardless of what happens to Romagnoli. Worst case, Romagnoli can play left CB and Tomori RCB, and if Roma doesn't recover his form then he can be the backup for both CBs or even for Theo Hernandez as LB, where he actually impressed at Roma as a 19 year-old, he can also help in midfield as a LMF or a holding MF in certain situations.. Also competition doesn't hurt. Just keep both.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 6:22am
@Inter

You bring non-stop laughter and enjoyment with your *intended-to-hurt* but funny as hell comments. I would worry about your own club and their inability to pay wages or sell the club. In the meantime though, keep commenting the same lines of jokes under every Milan article mate and thank you ????

Peace.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 3:13am
I’d definitely keep Tomori, sell Romagnoli, and bring back Caldara as back-up in case Atalanta don’t take their option on him (which doesn’t seem so). Maybe Caldara can regain his form and value if he manages to stay healthy. As for Romagnoli, I don’t have much hope for him. He’s incompatible to modern football. He needs to play for a team that defends deep most of the time.
on the 27th March, 2021 at 3:05am
When I think about the ridiculous sums paid for average players in relatively recent years (pre-Elliot) who were total flops at Milan... Tomori at 28 million euros might be high for the Elliot era, but he already plays for us and has proven himself to be top quality, so 28 million for a certainty is nothing less than a sound investment.
on the 26th March, 2021 at 11:36pm
So far he has shown PURE class. He should def be signed
on the 26th March, 2021 at 9:35pm
I think it should be pretty clear cut. He fits the bill in terms of player profile Milan are basing their project. A young promising player with potential for even more improvement. They won’t get another defender of his caliber for 28 million. And let’s face it, 28 million isn’t the highest of feas. If they decided to sell him down the line, they would recoup their investment and more...
on the 26th March, 2021 at 9:19pm
End of the season huge for Milan. Still have to play juve, Lazio AND Atalanta. Will likely lose 2 if not 3 of these matches. Unfortunately this is where the squad isn’t good enough and will likely miss out on top 4. Without top 4, any purchases will be impossible sadly so players like Tomori will go back to their club. Hearing runours that tonali money may be difficult to find too, unless they can negotiate another loan. Losing Donna and calhagnoglu for free will also hurt.
on the 26th March, 2021 at 8:53pm
He’s the perfect foil for a defender like Romagnoli and so it would be awesome if the latter could recover his form. That’d be our CBs sorted for the next 10 years. If you think Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini played together for about 7 seasons. That’s what it takes to really form a partnership. If Romagnoli can’t recover his form then perhaps Kjær could do one more year and even Gabbia could step up. Either way that 28m has to be the priority this summer. If that’s all we have so be it.
on the 26th March, 2021 at 8:39pm
(Cont'd). To make up the numbers I believe Maksimovic and Cistana are at the end of their contracts. The former is a good proven Serie a CB, who could actually probably rival Kjaer, while the latter is a young CB that is on the fringes of La Nazionale, albeit having spend most of his career in Serie B, and has been previously mentioned as a possible target for Milan.
on the 26th March, 2021 at 6:50pm
In the "What's Next for Milan?" blog I commented that it may be worth it to give him a year to prove his worth, but somehow I forgot his contract is up in 2022. Throw the Raiola factor on top and I think maybe it's time for him to find greener pastures. Not sure how much they'll be able to recoup given his remaining contract and less than stellar performances, but the 20-25mm range might be acceptable. It would cover most of the cost for Tomori. Cont'd...
on the 26th March, 2021 at 6:44pm

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