It’s never easy to say goodbye, especially when genuine affection is involved. The wrong words can cause further upset, the wrong tone capable of inflicting greater disappointment.
Yet Fikayo Tomori’s farewell message to Chelsea and the club’s supporters after completing a permanent move to Milan struck exactly the right chord. It was emotional, respectful, and heartfelt.
“Wow…where do I start?” the defender wrote on Instagram. “A club I’ve been with since I was eight years old. Growing through all stages of the academy. Helped me develop and grow as a player and a person.
“Winning various trophies throughout all the youth ages, to making my debut at Stamford Bridge, having the chance to play in the Premier League and Champions League; the things I dreamt of as a kid. Memories I will cherish forever.
All I can say is thank you. To all the staff in the academy that got me to this point, all my teammates, ALL the fans, and Chelsea Football Club. I will miss you all.”
Tomori’s move to San Siro has netted Chelsea £25million – and potentially £30m if certain clauses in the deal are activated. Yet there were many Blues supporters disappointed to see the 23-year-old move on.
Part of the reason for that is the performances produced by the England international since joining Milan on loan in January. He was able to oust the club’s captain, Alessio Romagnoli, from the starting XI and played 90 minutes in 16 of the 20 Serie A matches he was available for.
The prevailing opinion is Tomori would’ve also been perfectly suited to Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system. He could’ve filled any of the roles in the three-man defence and his pace would’ve been perfect given Chelsea operate with a high line.
Yet the biggest disappointment for many Blues fans was the departure of a talented homegrown player.
For far too long Chelsea overlooked the importance this connection. Homegrown talents were often overlooked in favour of imports, many of whom failed to truly raise the level of the first-team squad. Then Frank Lampard was appointed head coach.
The Blues legend, alongside Jody Morris, gave Chelsea’s own a chance like no coach during the Roman Abramovich era. Mason Mount was given his chance and has blossomed into one of the finest young players in Europe. Reece James the same.
Tammy Abraham was handed an opportunity to lead the Blues attack and responded with 18 goals in his debut season. There were also standout moments from Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and later in the 2019/20 season, Billy Gilmour.
Chelsea somewhat reverted to type last summer by bringing in a host of players for more than £200million. That splurge inevitably impacted the homegrown talents.
Not Mount or James, who ended up starting in the Champions League final victory over Man City