10 quotes on Fikayo Tomori’s fine form at AC Milan: Maldini, Capello, Tuchel…
Fikayo Tomori’s performances since joining at AC Milan on loan from Chelsea in January have been one of the main talking points of the second half of the season in Serie A. Plenty of big names have showered him with praise.
The Canada-born England international has looked assured at the centre of Milan’s defence, helping the Rossoneri maintain second place in the table with blocks like the one he produced to earn his side three points against Genoa.
There is a reported €28million clause in the loan deal that allows Milan to make the move permanent in the summer and it looks increasingly likely that the Italian giants – renowned for their history of magnificent defenders – will activate it.
People linked to both clubs and media figures in England and Italy have been lining up to comment on the deal and Tomori’s excellent form. Here is what they have had to say.
“Fortunately, I work for a club that has an effect on players. When AC Milan call, the players always listen,” the Milan legend and current technical director told Sky Sport Italia.
“Fikayo is a player with particular characteristics, pace and intensity, so we thought he could be a good reinforcement for this second half of the season.
“We have an option to buy for Tomori, it’s up to us to evaluate whether we activate it or not.”
Maldini’s fellow club idol Baresi was even more effusive talking to Gazzetta dello Sport in late March: “We will do everything possible to sign him on a permanent deal. Two months are remaining until the end of the season, and it’s not only up to Milan.
“Tomori is imposing himself with talent and determination. He has shown no fear playing in a new league. He can potentially become a great champion. I hope he lives up to expectations.”
Weeks prior to that interview with Gazzetta, Baresi told The Mail: “[Tomori] is young and has played well so far when he’s had the chance.
“He is skilful and has great physical attributes. He is still adapting to the Italian league and I think he can only grow as a defender and help us.
“He needs to be focused on the present and on doing well with AC Milan. The club will decide his future with the player and with Chelsea at the end of the season.
“There is great competition in England, but he is definitely one of the most promising prospects out there. His experience with AC Milan can certainly help him develop as a player.”
After Milan had beaten Parma in April, the Rossoneri manager said: “[Tomori] has made a wonderful impact and settled in so quickly, he has other characteristics of pace and of playing out from the back that can certainly improve us as a team.
“He is a player who is certainly giving us a lot and the intention is to keep him.”
“One thing Milan cannot fail to do is pay Chelsea the €28million for Tomori,” said defender turned pundit Ziliani.
“If it cost [Milan] €35million for [Sandro] Tonali, which isn’t worth it (at least for now), [Ismael] Bennacer and [Franck] Kessie, Tomori at €28million is a bargain.
“For anticipation, speed and agility he is better than [Matthijs] De Ligt, who cost Juve €85.5million.”
“Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara know about football,” former Milan and England manager Capello told PianetaMilan.
“They are competent, they have seen the qualities of this player and they have certainly known him for a long time.
“They have made a great purchase, because Tomori’s speed is one of the most important things for a defender, besides obviously knowing how to mark. Speed helps a lot.”
Gazzetta dello Sport
Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Marco Pasotto wrote of Tomori: “He plays with disarming ease, as if he has been here for years.
“And thanks to this fluency, Tomori scored two remarkable hits in a few weeks: first he confined Romagnoli, who is the captain of Milan, to the bench, and then he definitively convinced everyone – coach and owners – on the opportunity to sign him from Chelsea next summer…
“If a couple of months ago that €28million seemed an excessive amount, almost exorbitant for a semi-unknown boy, [who] arrived at Milanello only due to the injury of the Rossoneri first choice (Simakan), now it seems to everyone a bargain.
“With an attached rhetorical question: where do you find a defender with those qualities, of that age, at that figure?”
The Chelsea boss has not talked about Tomori regularly but in February he said: “To be very honest, I did not spend too many minutes thinking about Tomori – not because I don’t like him and don’t see his potential, but there was simply no time.
“It’s tradition in Chelsea that many players are on loan and get minutes somewhere else when they cannot make regular minutes here. This is good because it’s always the target to have players who can make it in different circumstances, who can show their qualities in different cultures and clubs.
“We will have this talk in the next weeks and months about all the guys who are on loan. But of course, I have a general impression of Tomori, which is that he has high, high potential, but I’m not into details right now. The time will come for that.”
Italian football expert Rzouki has been suitably impressed.
Milan laboured for those three points. Really laboured. It was touch and go for a minute there but I’m simply in love with Tomori.
They got the three points and Mandzukic is back to playing so a few positives but lacking that brilliance I miss watching.
Milan 2-1 Genoa
— Mina Rzouki (@Minarzouki) April 18, 2021
“Chelsea, in my eyes, made a mistake allowing Tomori to go,” ex-Chelsea player Hudson told Caught Offside. “He could have improved under Tuchel and is surely superior to Zouma.
“I would rather bring a good young defender to learn his trade alongside Silva than buy a big-name player from abroad when you have enough of them.”
Tomori himself spoke of his reasons for joining Milan in an interview with The Times in March: “Before I came here I spoke to Paolo Maldini.
“Obviously I knew it was a big club and he said it was a big club, but when I arrived and went to the museum at Casa Milan, and saw all the Ballons d’Or here, the pictures of the greats who have gone before, then the seven Champions League trophies, you really do feel it… Like, wow.
“When I go to the training ground and see the pictures and names on the wall of people who have set records, like [Andriy] Shevchenko, Maldini, Kaka and [Clarence] Seedorf, and I’m thinking that they’ve all been here, they’ve all sat in these changing rooms, played on these pitches. All those moments fill you with pride. You breathe it in.”