Celtic Opinion: Fikayo Tomori would be a wonderful signing for the Hoops
The Daily Record understands that Tomori’s consistently impressive performances in the Championship have impressed Celtic and the Hoops want to bring him to Parkhead this summer, although it is still unclear whether they want a loan agreement or a permanent deal for the youngster.
Tomori has been one of the architects of Derby County’s successful season in the Championship this term, playing a key role in the Rams surge to the finals of the playoffs.
The 21-year-old has been an ever-present for Frank Lampard’s side at the heart of the defence alongside Richard Keogh, making a total of 54 appearances for the Rams in all competitions this season.
The Canada-born centre-back has earned rave reviews for his incredible performances at Pride Park and Daily Record claims that Derby are keen to turn his loan deal into a permanent move.
That, however, would solely depend on whether or not they manage to make it to the Premier League by beating Aston Villa in the playoff final at Wembley.
Born in Calgary, Canada, to parents of Nigerian descent, Tomori moved to England at a very young age and rose through the youth ranks at Chelsea before making his Premier League debut for the Blues against Leicester City in the 2015-16 season.
However, that remains his only appearance for Chelsea till date and he has been farmed out to Brighton, Hull City and Derby County over the past three seasons.
Standing at 6ft. 1 inch with a stocky frame, Tomori cannot be classified as a towering or a gigantic centre-back but he has impressed a lot with his wonderful tackling skills and sound game-reading ability.
An aggressive defender by nature, Tomori has gradually learnt to use that aspect of his game to his advantage, showing plenty of maturity in terms of composure and decision-making.
To add to that, Tomori is also blessed with the ball-playing qualities of a modern-day centre-back, which not only allows him to be comfortable in possession but also play it out from the back and switch the play with long balls.
Despite not being the tallest of centre-backs, Tomori knows how to use his physicality to outmuscle the opposition and win headers inside the box. The 21-year-old averaged 2.2 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 3.9 clearances and 2.8 aerial duels per game in the Championship, whilst also boasting of a pass accuracy rate of 82.7.
The youngster has progressed by leaps and bounds on his loan spell at Derby and it would be fair to say that he is ready to play a part in Chelsea’s first-team.
However, it is unlikely that he would get a serious look in at Stamford Bridge next season, with the likes of David Luiz, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger performing at the peak of their powers.
To put things into perspective, Celtic could possibly strike gold by securing the services of Fikayo Tomori in the summer, although the Hoops might need to break the bank if they are really considering a permanent deal for the youngster.
Neil Lennon needs to start looking at potential defensive reinforcements ahead of the summer transfer window, with Dedryck Boyata out of contract and Filip Benkovic still unsure whether to return to Leicester or stay on loan at Parkhead for another season.
Norwegian centre-back Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic have done reasonably well but one cannot help but feel that Celtic need at least another defender in their ranks to maintain the perfect balance.
Celtic lost 2-0 to Rangers in the Old Firm derby last Sunday but the Hoops are on the verge of claiming their 8th straight domestic title, while a victory over Hearts in the Scottish Cup final towards the end of the month would see them bag a third successive domestic treble.
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However, the Hoops should be open to investing in talented youngsters and Fikayo Tomori is certainly a player with a mountain of potential. To conclude, Celtic could have a gem in their hands if they manage to strike a deal for the 21-year-old English youth international this summer.