Chelsea would be foolish to sell Fikayo Tomori – let alone offer AC Milan a discount

To the surprise of very few Chelsea fans, Fikayo Tomori has been great since joining AC Milan on loan in January.

Having fallen well out of favour under Frank Lampard, who preferred the error-prone trio of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma far too often in 2019/20, Tomori joined the Rossoneri on a short-term deal to try to reignite his stalling career, and he has done exactly that.

While most were happy to see Tomori leave on loan for the good of his career, Chelsea’s decision to hand Milan the option to sign him permanently for around £26m raised a few eyebrows.

Tomori struggled for minutes at Chelsea
Tomori struggled for minutes at Chelsea | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Milan director Paolo Maldini recently confessed that he would be interested in signing Tomori permanently, but he hoped to sit down with Chelsea to talk about the fee because it is ‘very high’.

Good. So it should be.

You see, the way this ‘football’ thing works is that good players cost a little bit of money. That fee rises when that player is young and comes with impressive potential, and when you’re asking an English team to sell an England international with three years left on his contract, that fee goes up a little more.

Tomori should not come cheap and Chelsea should reject any attempts from Milan to lower his asking price. At this point, it’s £26m or nothing, but it shouldn’t have even made it this far anyway.

Tomori has been a hit in Milan
Tomori has been a hit in Milan | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Chelsea should never have put themselves in a position where losing Tomori is an option. Centre-back is still a weak spot in the Blues’ squad, and unless they can come up with an anti-ageing potion for Thiago Silva, it’s only going to get worse.

Christensen and Rudiger are both enjoying a recent resurgence under Thomas Tuchel, but doubts remain about both. As for Zouma, a summer exit looks likely after seeing him lose his place under the new boss.

Chelsea are clearly well aware of the need to improve at the back. Club officials are looking to sign a young centre-back with experience this summer, but they already have one of those shining at San Siro.

Granted, Tomori’s combined 21 appearances across the Premier League and Serie A doesn’t exactly match up to Ibrahima Konate’s 60 in the Bundesliga or Jose Gimenez’s 143 in La Liga, but ruling him out so early would just be ridiculous.

Chelsea are targeting a new centre-back
Chelsea are targeting a new centre-back | Pool/Getty Images

Tomori has quickly turned into a fan favourite at Milan, a club who know all about elite defenders, and he looks capable of blossoming into a real force of nature. Why let Milan enjoy that at your own expense?

He’s obviously not the finished article just yet. Poor positioning has often been named as a potential flaw in his game, and his much-heralded recovery tackle on Jordan Veretout in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Roma only came about because he was caught out of position in the first place. The flaws are there to see. Relying on recovery pace isn’t exactly ideal.

If you want to justify Chelsea’s openness to the idea of losing Tomori permanently, there’s your best argument, but giving up on such an exciting prospect after less than one season is an awful idea, and one Chelsea know about far too well.

Romelu Lukaku was given ten Premier League games before being binned. Mohamed Salah made it up to 13. Kevin De Bruyne managed three. These are three of the world’s best footballers who would have been starring for Chelsea if the Blues had shown them an ounce of patience.

Chelsea should give Tomori the chance to grow
Chelsea should give Tomori the chance to grow | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Tomori should be brought back to Stamford Bridge and given regular minutes in defence – an easier prospect if Tuchel continues to play with three defenders. When Silva goes and Cesar Azpilicueta starts to decline, the ready-made replacement is there.

If Tomori does have to leave this summer, it shouldn’t be for a penny less than £26m. Milan would be getting a bargain at that price, and anything else would be daylight robbery.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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How USMNT players performed in Europe’s top five leagues: 26-28 February

The United States men’s national team is overseeing a golden generation of players in the leadup to the 2026 World Cup on home soil, with more American players than ever before plying their club trade at teams in one of the Europe’s top five leagues.

Here’s a roundup of how USMNT players in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 got on in the latest round of matches (26 – 28 February).

Konrad de la Fuente was with Barcelona B
Konrad de la Fuente was with Barcelona B | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Barcelona

Having been on the bench in La Liga more often than not this season, albeit without actually making his debut in the competition, Konrad de la Fuente wasn’t involved with the Barcelona first-team over the weekend.

Instead, the 19-year-old Florida-born talent was with Barcelona B and played 89 minutes of their 1-0 win against Lleida Esportiu.

Zack Steffen is Man City #2 behind Ederson
Zack Steffen is Man City #2 behind Ederson | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Manchester City

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who is among the supporters of Common Goal’s newly launched Anti-Racist Project, remains the primary back-up for Ederson at Manchester City and was on the bench for his club’s 2-1 Premier League over West Ham on Saturday.

Steffen has played in the Premier League this season, against Chelsea in early January, but the majority of his chances have come in the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

Tim Ream last played in the Premier League in October
Tim Ream last played in the Premier League in October | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Fulham

Tim Ream is still yet to regain his place at Fulham and was an unused substitute for a 20th consecutive Premier League game as the Cottagers drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace.

Ream hasn’t played a league match since defeat to the same side in late October.

John Brooks is usually a starter but was supended
John Brooks is usually a starter but was supended | Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Wolfsburg

John Brooks is usually a regular starter for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, but the 28-year-old was missing over the weekend for the club’s 2-0 win against Hertha Berlin through suspension.

He has otherwise started 20 Bundesliga games this season, with Wolfsburg in contention to finish in the top four and return to the Champions League.

Antonee Robinson came off the bench for Fulham
Antonee Robinson came off the bench for Fulham | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Position: Left-back

Club: Fulham

Antonee Robinson played the second half of Fulham’s 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, having been brought off the bench at half-time.

The 23-year-old, who qualifies for the USMNT through his American father, has usually been a starter this season.

Yunus Musah was subbed early for Valencia
Yunus Musah was subbed early for Valencia | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Valencia

Yunus Musah returned to the Valencia starting XI in La Liga but only played 54 minutes of a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Getafe that left the club in 14th place.

The 19-year-old is no longer starting as regularly for Valencia as he was earlier in the season.

Chris Richards started again for Hoffenheim
Chris Richards started again for Hoffenheim | TOBIAS SCHWARZ/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Hoffenheim

20-year-old centre-back Chris Richards is making the most of his opportunity since joining Hoffenheim on loan from Bayern Munich in January and started his third Bundesliga game for the club in their 1-1 draw with Union Berlin.

Richards had also started twice in the Europa League before Hoffenheim were knocked out.

Tyler Adams played 90 minutes of an RB Leipzig win
Tyler Adams played 90 minutes of an RB Leipzig win | Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Position: Centre midfield

Club: RB Leipzig

Tyler Adams played the full 90 minutes for RB Leipzig in a fifth consecutive Bundesliga win for the club that keeps them second behind only reigning champions Bayern Munich.

Leipzig came from two down to win 3-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Timothy Weah played nearly half an hour for Lille
Timothy Weah played nearly half an hour for Lille | John Berry/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Lille

Timothy Weah appeared as a substitute for the final half hour as Ligue 1 leaders Lille looked to rescue a home game against struggling Strasbourg.

Lille were trailing but eventually got back on level terms to draw 1-1 late on. It was still a setback, though, cutting their lead over champions Paris Saint-Germain to just two points.

Josh Sargent scored Werder Bremen's winner
Josh Sargent scored Werder Bremen’s winner | Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Position: Striker

Club: Werder Bremen

Josh Sargent scored the winner for Werder Bremen in their 2-1 comeback victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to kick off the Bundesliga’s weekend action on Friday night.

The win helped Bremen stay eight points clear of the relegation playoff, while Sargent has now started 20 of the club’s 22 league games season – a step on from last season when the Missouri-born forward was more of a rotational player.

Giovanni Reyna started Dortmund's Bundesliga win
Giovanni Reyna started Dortmund’s Bundesliga win | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

Position: Attacking midfield

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Giovanni Reyna played just under 70 minutes of Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 Bundesliga win over Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

It was his first start in any competition since mid-February and his team were already 2-0 up by the time the teenager was replaced by Thorgan Hazard.

Weston McKennie came off the bench for Juventus
Weston McKennie came off the bench for Juventus | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Position: Centre midfield

Club: Juventus

A goal in his last start against Crotone a week earlier wasn’t enough for Weston McKennie to keep his place in the Juventus XI on Saturday. Instead, the USMNT midfielder was a substitute and played the final 22 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona.

That result saw the champions fall a full 10 points behind leaders Inter, although Juve have still got a game in hand that could reduce the deficit.

Christian Pulisic was a substitute for Chelsea vs Man Utd
Christian Pulisic was a substitute for Chelsea vs Man Utd | Pool/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Chelsea

Christian Pulisic made his first Premier League appearance since early February when he came off the bench for the final 25 minutes against Manchester United, having missed Chelsea’s previous three league matches.

Pulisic couldn’t make the difference and the game at Stamford Bridge finished 0-0.

Sergino Dest started Barcelona's win over Sevilla
Sergino Dest started Barcelona’s win over Sevilla | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Position: Right wing-back

Club: Barcelona

Sergino Dest was back in the Barcelona starting XI and played 90 minutes in a La Liga fixture for the first time since before Christmas.

Barça kept a clean sheet and won 2-0 in a vitally important away game against Sevilla in the race for a top four place.

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Willian could still prove to be a good bit of transfer business for Arsenal

Arsenal pulled off an impressive 3-1 victory over high-flying Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, and summer signing Willian was at the heart of many of the team’s best moments.

The Brazilian joined the Gunners on a free transfer having left Chelsea, with whom he spent seven years and departing after Arsenal beat them in the FA Cup final. But up until recently, his displays have been somewhat underwhelming.

Mikel Arteta’s side travelled to Greece and back during the week, keeping their Europa League hopes alive with a vital win over Benfica, and so the boss felt the need to make a number of changes at Leicester. He made six in total, and with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka rested, Willian started.

It was his pinpoint delivery that picked out David Luiz from a free-kick level the score at 1-1 six minutes before the break.

Willian also played a key role in Arsenal’s third goal when he was able to squeeze the ball through to Nicolas Pepe, who finished from close range to put the result beyond doubt.

Add to his performance at Leicester the fact he came only as a second-half substitute against Benfica but was seen by many to be the catalyst of what proved to be a vital comeback, it looks like Willian’s finally turned a corner in his Arsenal career.

The quality has always been there and although he never scored against the Gunners for his former club, those who’ve followed the Premier League in recent seasons will have been aware of what Willian’s capable of on his day.

The issue has been that since pulling on the famous red and white shirt, those days have been very few and far between. Although there were eyebrows raised regarding the length of his Arsenal contract (three years for a 32-year-old), given it was a free transfer, even if he were to make even just a handful more of vital contributions, it will have been a worthwhile piece of business.

The recent form of Saka, the improvement of Pepe and the acquisition of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid have seen Willian start less frequently than he did at the start of the campaign when Arsenal were struggling.

He would have been brought in to provide experienced cover in attack rather than be a key player, so the frequency with which he was selected to start matches at the beginning of the season when the. Gunners’ form wasn’t great will have contributed to supporters’ frustration towards him.

Granted, the 32-year-old still has a long way to go before he will have convinced the entire Arsenal fanbase he is worthy of playing regularly. But there have been signs of his form is improving and given the club’s league position and standing in the Europa League, it may only take one big moment to make himself a hero. Willian can still salvage what’s been a disappointing campaign so far.

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Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested in police investigation of ‘Barcagate’

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested as part of a police investigation into the ‘Barcagate’ scandal of early 2020.

Reports emerged suggesting Bartomeu was behind a decision to hire a company called I3Ventures to create a number of fake profiles on social media to spread positive messages in defence of the Barcelona board and slander those who had spoken out against them, including players like Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi.

While that’s obviously ethically wrong, things stepped up to a whole new level when Bartomeu was accused of corruption and money laundering by splitting the contract with I3Ventures up to try and ensure it went undetected in the club’s accounts.

I3Ventures were reportedly paid around €1m per season, but that deal was split up into several contracts worth around €200,000 – small enough to avoid detection.

Police have been looking into those accusations ever since, and according to Cadena SER, who were the first to report on the ‘Barcagate’ scandal, the decision has been made to arrest Bartomeu for his role in the deal.

Bartomeu rejected claims of a smear campaign
Bartomeu rejected claims of a smear campaign | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Alongside Bartomeu, police have also detained former general manager Oscar Grau and the man in charge of Barcelona’s legal dealings, Roman Gomez Ponti.

Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, entered Barcelona’s offices on Monday morning to conduct a search, focusing on the Finance, Legal and Compliance offices specifically. Further arrests have not been ruled out.

The ‘Barcagate’ scandal led to a number of resignations at the club from staff members who had been kept in the dark about the whole thing, and while an external audit cleared Barcelona of any wrongdoing, suspicions did not disappear.

It was alleged that Messi was one of those targeted
It was alleged that Messi was one of those targeted | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Concerns over Bartomeu’s involvement in the situation played a part in the vote of no confidence tabled against him in October 2020, at which point he resigned before he was forced out of office.

It was one of many allegations against Bartomeu and his leadership of the club, with many fans accusing the president of financial mismanagement which has left Barcelona facing immense debts of close to €1bn.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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Tammy Abraham deserves better than Thomas Tuchel is giving him at Chelsea

There are a lot of divisive players at Chelsea, and striker Tammy Abraham is towards the top of that list.

After a red-hot start to the 2019/20 season which saw him score 11 goals in the first 15 games, Abraham’s form started to disappear, and with it went the support of a not-insignificant part of the fan base.

The 23-year-old has his doubters, and it appears as though new manager Thomas Tuchel is one of those as he couldn’t find a place for Abraham in his 20-man squad which laboured to a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Tuchel left Abraham out of the squad altogether
Tuchel left Abraham out of the squad altogether | DAVE THOMPSON/Getty Images

The boss suggested after the game that Abraham, who is Chelsea’s top scorer in all competitions this season, is behind Olivier Giroud, Timo Werner and even Kai Havertz in the pecking order these days, which is a strange decision to reach so quickly in his short time in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

While his return of 12 goals in 30 appearances this season doesn’t exactly scream ‘undisputed starter’, Abraham’s average of one goal every 126 minutes deserves attention.

Giroud may better those numbers with a goal every 96 minutes (four goals against Sevilla might have helped that a little bit), but nobody else comes anywhere close. Werner needs nearly twice as many minutes as Abraham to score a goal, while Havertz is closer to the 300-minute mark.

All this suggests that Abraham merits a spot in the matchday squad, so to see Tuchel reject him in favour of including both Emerson and Marcos Alonso as left-back cover for Ben Chilwell doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Now, in Tuchel’s defence, Abraham can be a tricky striker to define at times. As a target man, Giroud is well clear, while Werner brings better movement, finishing (usually) and all-round work rate. There’s not much Abraham does better than both…apart from score goals.

Starting Giroud against United was undoubtedly the right move. He earned that spot with a fantastic overhead kick to see off Atletico Madrid in midweek, whereas Abraham hasn’t shown much of himself just yet. In his 123 Premier League minutes under Tuchel, he is yet to score, with his only goal coming in the FA Cup victory over Barnsley.

However, he has shown enough this season to merit more opportunities than he is being given under Tuchel, whose penchant for snubbing him is only going to force Abraham out the exit door at Stamford Bridge.

Abraham’s contract is winding down. He has two-and-a-bit years remaining and has been hesitant to put pen to paper on an extension because Chelsea are yet to show the same level of commitment to him. He’s a proven Premier League striker who isn’t getting the chance to prove himself.

Chelsea's pursuit of Erling Haaland hasn't helped
Chelsea’s pursuit of Erling Haaland hasn’t helped | LEON KUEGELER/Getty Images

With the Blues also hoping to spend a club-record fee on Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, Abraham knows he might never get the chance to become Chelsea’s undisputed starter. He won’t get minutes ahead of a £100m+ freak of nature whose goalscoring record is out of this world.

Whether you think Chelsea need someone like Haaland or not is a debate for a different day, but from Abraham’s perspective, it’s just another example of how his hard work for the club is going unrecognised.

He spent a large part of last season shadowing Giroud in an attempt to become the all-round striker Chelsea want, and there was a point earlier this season where it looked like he had smashed it out of the park, but it seems as though nobody really cared. When he made up for Werner’s lack of goals, nobody batted an eyelid.

Abraham has done his best to learn from Giroud
Abraham has done his best to learn from Giroud | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Is Abraham the finished article? No, not at all. He’ll be the first to admit his movement isn’t elite and his consistency isn’t good enough, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get the chance to improve.

We’ve seen that Abraham is prepared to rise to whatever challenge is thrown his way, but at some point, enough will be enough.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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