AC Milan sporting director Paolo Maldini has confirmed he hopes to speak with Chelsea at the end of the season about the option to sign on-loan centre-back Fikayo Tomori on a permanent basis.
After seeing just 45 minutes of Premier League action at Stamford Bridge, Tomori was offloaded to Milan for the second half of the season, but the Italian side also managed to negotiate the option to sign Tomori permanently for close to £26m.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic start to life in Milan, playing in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Roma ahead of club captain Alessio Romagnoli and impressing with a number of crucial challenges to keep the team’s title chase alive.
Ahead of the game, Maldini confessed that he has been impressed with Tomori’s performances so far, and while he admitted his interest in striking a permanent deal, he suggested the £26m may be a little too much.
“Tomori is a good talent and we have a buy-option clause,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “The price is very high. AC Milan will decide at the end of this season and we will discuss it with Chelsea‘s board.”
His top showing against Roma has earned Tomori plenty of praise across Italy. Manager Stefano Pioli admitted he already has complete faith in the young defender, but some of the biggest plaudits came from former Milan and England boss Fabio Capello.
“As a coach I always wanted a fast defender,” he said. “Milan was built on defence, all phenomena ahead but the speed of Baresi, Costacurta, Maldini and Tassotti… If you have a fast defender, it’s lucky.
“You can play three, four, but Tomori’s recovery on Veretout was fantastic, without committing a foul. He is an important player.
“One of Juventus‘ strengths was when they went to pick up Andrea Barzagli. He was faster than Chiellini and Bonucci. If you are lucky enough to find one like this, you get it.”
Milan have slipped to second in the Serie A standings, four points behind Antonio Conte’s Inter, but victory over Roma went a long way to keeping Pioli’s side in a commanding spot in the race for the top four.