It seems like the only bit of business Chelsea need to do this winter is to find a team to take centre-back Fikayo Tomori on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
The 23-year-old, who is highly thought of by many at Chelsea and around England, has just four appearances to his name in all competitions this season, including just 45 minutes of action in the Premier League.
Given he’s failed to make the matchday squad for 12 of Chelsea’s 17 Premier League games thus far this season, a move away on loan seems necessary – and the latest rumours suggest AC Milan are keen.
Unfortunately, the world is not so simple.
Stefano Pioli’s side are top of the league and boast a defensive record bettered only by Juventus, Napoli and Verona. Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer have been the usual centre-back pairing, and both have been excellent. What they’re doing now is clearly working.
Romagnoli and Kjaer are going to continue to start the vast majority of games, so minutes will remain hard to come by for the reserves. Leo Duarte had just 18 minutes to his name before being shipped out on loan, and Matteo Musacchio hasn’t even played a minute this year.
Pioli doesn’t want a new starter, he wants additional cover to replace Duarte. If that’s Tomori, he would find himself filling the void left by the fringe-est of fringe players. That’s bad.
Chelsea can’t afford to send Tomori to a team where he isn’t going to get regular minutes. He’s unhappy as it is, and a miserable loan spell elsewhere would likely lead to a permanent move away from the Bridge next summer.
The Blues need to consider their next move wisely and send Tomori to a team who are prepared to commit to him for the remainder of the campaign.
In terms of who that actually is, it’s unclear. The Telegraph recently rubbished links to Newcastle or Leeds United, but it is thought there is still interest in Tomori from both the Premier League and La Liga.
What’s clear is that Tomori needs as much top-flight experience as possible. While the England international impressed last season, a few poor performances highlighted the fact that Tomori is not the finished product just yet.
He is only 23, so a few bumps in the road are to be expected, but the only way to smooth things out is by playing games. Chelsea can’t offer him that and Milan would likely not commit to Tomori as much as needed, so a different solution must be found.
A mid-table side in either England or Spain would be the perfect destination for Tomori, who is eager to hone his craft and prove he deserves a spot in both a top team and the England squad.
Money shouldn’t play a part in Chelsea’s decision. Tomori’s development is the only thing that matters here, and sending him to a team who will guarantee him minutes is the only way forward from this point.