Why Chelsea's decision to let David Luiz go and keep Fikayo Tomori is a masterstroke
- David Luiz's departure hasn't affected Chelsea defensively due to the fantastic start Tomori has had at the club.
In the 62nd minute of Chelsea's Premier League match against Burnley at Turf Moor, the home fans saw their golden opportunity to score a consolation goal stopped by a young English centre-back who goes by the name of Fikayo Tomori. After losing the initial header, Tomori made a brilliant recovery tackle in the box to prevent Jay Rodriguez from getting on the score sheet. It was a tackle that blew a breeze of nostalgia across Turf Moor making the fans reminisce to the time when John Terry used to command the Chelsea defence.
A return to the club of which he's been a part of since the age of 8 was always going to be emotional. Ever since his return to Chelsea in the summer, he has been a vital part of Lampard's revolution at the club. He was thrown into the spotlight when Chelsea decided to part ways with David Luiz in the final days of the transfer window. The club's decision to sell their most experienced centre-back and a regular starter in the past year was massive. Luiz was an active part of the pre-season, and it seemed that Tomori would be sent away on loan once again. Frank's bold decision to trust Tomori to fill the void left by the veteran Luiz has paid off wonderfully until now.
Even though initially it seemed Tomori would be lower on a pecking order that featured Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma, injuries paved the way for the young Englishman's debut, and he hasn't looked back ever since. His impressive performances have led to him being one of the first names on the team sheet and has certainly climbed that relatively tall pecking order. He showed a glimpse of his capabilities against Liverpool when he gave Mohamed Salah a rough time down the wings.
Lampard's trust in the young defender also arrives from the fact that Tomori played under him last season at Derby County. Tomori was one of the vital cogs of the team's path of success where they reached the playoffs of the Championship. The centre-back’s defensive astuteness resulted in him claiming the Rams’ Player of the Year award, ahead of several others like Mason Mount who had a brilliant season themselves. The season was more than enough for Tomori to be recalled by Chelsea along with Frank Lampard.
With prolonged injuries to Rüdiger and Christensen, Tomori has started building a formidable partnership with Kurt Zouma at the heart of the Chelsea defence. Statistically speaking, they don't have enough clean sheets as proof to their performances. Still, it's apparent to one watching them consistently that they've been brilliant, winning duels and looking comfortable with the ball at their feet. Already a fan-favourite at 21, Tomori has abilities to become the best. His desire and hard work is evident and will surely be able to unlock his full potential if he stays true to himself. Chelsea have a bright prospect and one for the future.Published 14 Nov 2019, 03:37 IST