Transfer news: Who could be on the move this summer?
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AC Milan will take up their option to buy Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori in the coming days, with the Blues set to receive a fee of £24.4million for their academy graduate, according to reports. Tomori excelled during a half-season loan spell with the San Siro giants, playing the entire 90 minutes in all but four of his Serie A matches at the club.
The 24-year-old’s contributions at the back helped Stefano Pioli’s side to regain their Champions League status with a second-placed finish.
Tomori gained plenty of admirers during his time in Italy, with Pioli and Milan’s honorary vice-president Franco Baresi openly admitting their shared desire to secure a permanent move for his services.
The defender struggled to hold down a spot in Chelsea’s first-team picture during the first half of the campaign, with former boss Frank Lampard opting to deploy the likes of Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen instead.
Thomas Tuchel’s stance on Tomori remains to be seen, but any plans the German manager may have drawn up to include the defender next season now appear to be redundant.
Milan have informed Chelsea of their desire to sign him on a permanent basis by exercising their option to buy for £24.4m, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
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It is claimed that the move will be rubber-stamped within the next two weeks, with Tomori set to pen a five-year contract.
His departure will end a long association with Chelsea that began when he joined the club’s under-eight side as a budding prospect.
Olivier Giroud was expected by many to join his team-mate at Milan ahead of next season, but the Frenchman’s decision to agree a one-year extension will see him remain on Chelsea’s books for at least another campaign.
Tomori suggested that a move to the San Siro was a possibility back in March when he admitted that Tuchel was yet to contact him after taking the Blues job two months earlier.
“I often talk with my former teammates at Chelsea, who are also great friends,” Tomori told reporters.
“They feel well and are satisfied. I haven’t spoken to Tuchel yet, but he must remain focused on Chelsea as I have to think about Milan.”
Meanwhile, Milan technical director Paolo Maldini has previously showered the defender in high praise, hinting at the likelihood of a permanent switch shortly after the conclusion of the January transfer window.
“Fikayo is a player with interesting qualities,” said Maldini, who is arguably the club’s greatest player and one of the best centre-backs of all time.
“He is quick, hard-working and was someone we were following closely with January in mind. The deal contains an option to sign him from Chelsea.
“I’m lucky to work in a club where if a player knows we want them, it makes an impact. We might not have won anything at European level for 14 years, but Milan is still a historic club.”
A number of other Chelsea players appear likely to follow Tomori out the exit door over the coming months, including the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Emerson Palmieri and Davide Zappacosta.
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