Why Chelsea have struck gold with a long-term deal for Fikayo Tomori
According to BBC, Chelsea have rewarded academy graduate Fikayo Tomori with a new five-year deal to keep him at the club until 2024 following his impressive breakthrough in the Premier League under Frank Lampard.
The 21-year-old has been instrumental in Chelsea’s surge to the top four in the Premier League this season and he has now pledged his future to his boyhood club with a lucrative long-term contract.
A part of the Chelsea youth side which recorded back to back triumphs in both the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016, Tomori was handed his senior bow for the Blues in the Premier League against Leicester City in the final game of the 2015-16 season.
However, he then had to go through loan spells at Brighton, Hull City and Derby County in the Championship before eventually making the step up to Chelsea’s senior ranks this term.
Tomori was Derby’s Player of the Season under Lampard the last term as the Rams went all the way through to the Championship Playoff finals and he has made a smooth transition to the English top-flight at Stamford Bridge, with Lampard taking over the reins as the Blues’ boss and showing plenty of faith in his abilities.
The Canadian-born starlet is a part of Chelsea’s homegrown trio also featuring the likes Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount that has made a big impact in the Premier League this season, with all three players earning themselves recognition with England at the senior international level.
Tomori, who made his international debut for England as a substitute against Kosovo last month, has started 11 out of Chelsea’s first 16 league games so far, while also playing a key role in the club’s qualification to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
With Lampard calling upon the club’s academy prospects to cope with the transfer ban, the 21-year-old has largely benefitted from the injury to first-choice centre-back Antonio Rudiger, who was sidelined with a groin problem for over two months before making his return against Lille in the Champions League earlier this week.
Indeed, Tomori has established himself as one of the mainstays of Chelsea’s backline alongside Kurt Zouma, earning rave reviews for his consistently impressive performances in what continues to be an exceptional debut season in the Premier League.
Now, with Rudiger back in the mix and assuming that the German will play regularly in the coming months subject to his fitness, Tomori will need to fight it out with Zouma and Andreas Christensen for a place in central defence.
However, the youngster has held his own more often than not and he might well find himself in the playing eleven moving forward if he continues his rich vein of form and keeps on putting in the hard yards on the training ground to impress Lampard.
To put things into perspective, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that Chelsea have, indeed, struck gold with a new deal for Fikayo Tomori, who has shown that he has the talent and the potential to establish himself as one of the club’s key players at the back for several years moving forward.
With the transfer ban now lifted following Chelsea’s successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the academy prospects will face a battle in keeping themselves in the reckoning as the Blues prepare to splash the cash on some marquee signings.
Tomori, though, continues to be a bright young player in the making and he still has his best years ahead of him. Lampard’s policy of unleashing the club’s youth has paid rich dividends so far and a new deal for the 21-year-old is yet another step that indicates Chelsea’s renewed faith in their homegrown prospects.
As per whoscored, Tomori has averaged 79.5 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 88%, including 2.7 long balls, 2.3 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 2.6 clearances and 2.4 aerial duels per game in the Premier League this term.
A closer look at the numbers reveals that Tomori has completed 25 out of his attempted 26 tackles so far while also winning 26 out of a possible 50 duels in the air, stats which are overly impressive for a centre-back who is aged just 21.
To that end, Fikayo Tomori certainly deserved recognition for his unprecedented rise in the top-flight of English football and Chelsea have certainly done the right thing by offering him fresh terms until 2024.
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All in all, Chelsea’s move to offer the 21-year-old a new deal certainly strikes the right chords and this looks like a shrewd piece of business that could well pay off handsomely for Lampard’s project at Stamford Bridge moving forward.