Tomás Kalas has been on the Chelsea books since 2010, when he was 17 years old. In all that time he’s started a grand total of two games for the club while making over 200 appearances for five others combined. He’s the most veteran of veteran loan army warriors, logging hours in his native Czech Republic, at Vitesse, for Köln, Middlesbrough and, most successfully, for the last two seasons at Fulham.
But everyone has limits. After eight years (8!), he’s tired of the constant moving around. More to the point, he think he’s good enough for Chelsea.
“I have been there on pre-seasons in the past and I don’t think that I was the worst player on the pitch. One season that I spent there (2013-14) I got only two games, which was not as many as I was expecting or what I was told I would get. Both games we won and we only conceded an unlucky goal against Cardiff, so it could have been two clean sheets.
“I don’t know what I could do more. If it comes, with the way they are playing, then hopefully I will fit in. On the other side, it hasn’t worked for the last eight years. Is it time to change? Maybe yes, maybe not… If we work it out with Chelsea, between me, Fulham or maybe even a different club but I can’t really say much about that right now.”
-Tomás Kalas; source: Goal
Down the road at Fulham, Kalas was one of the first names on the team sheet every week at centre-back. He was unmovable as a starter until he hurt his hip in March. Denis Odoi deputised, Fulham went on an unbeaten run and Kalas never won his job back. He got a token 13 minutes in the playoff final victory against Aston Villa.
What he wants, what all the Loan Army players eventually want, is to settle down. Kalas’ best two options appear to be with Premier League clubs, Chelsea or newly-promoted Fulham. He believes he’s ready for the step up.
“Andreas Christensen made it and he played many games. Obviously, there were a few mistakes but he took the chance well and he deserves to be there. If he can do it, then I believe I can do it as well.”
But playing for which club? As it turns out, at this point he doesn’t care. He just wants a decision to be made and he’s reportedly pushing his agent to get the thing settled.
“There is an agreement that Fulham must buy me or pay a loan fee. Now it’s in their hands. I would like to be somewhere else and settle down after years of waiting. If Fulham would buy me, I would be relieved.
“At Fulham, until February, I played almost every game until I got injured and couldn’t get back in the team. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t go up automatically so we had to go into the play-offs but it was nicer to celebrate at Wembley. It was more valuable. It was the nicest experience I have ever had.”
Interesting little arrangement there, regarding his loan fee, wherein Fulham could instead pay to make the move permanent. It’s unclear if that’s a pre-arranged amount (probably not), but with three more years left on his Chelsea contract, Fulham would have to make a solid offer.
Either way, Kalas has the top tier in mind. If not Chelsea or Fulham, then somewhere else. As long as it’s the Premier League.
“Of course, I want [to stay at Fulham]. I don’t know if it will happen though. There will be talks in the next month. Hopefully, it will work in the way that I want it, Chelsea want it and maybe Fulham want it. I don’t know if it will, it is difficult to say now what is going to happen.
”If it goes the right way, it would be nice to stay with the team that’s in the Premier League. For me, it would be another step towards the highest level, because of course the Championship is not the highest level. The Premier League would be perfect, it doesn’t matter which club. If it was at Fulham, where I have spent the past two seasons, then that would be even better.
“We are going to talk about it and Fulham has to offer something if they want me. I don’t know now but I am just glad we made it. What happens next season, I don’t really know. I just don’t want to be overconfident but I can rate myself as an experienced Championship player. What’s the next step? To try it in the Premier League.
”If I am not ready now to try my best and take a punt, then I don’t think that I ever will be. I can easily say that I will try to get myself to a Premier League team, if an offer comes.”
-Tomás Kalas; source: Goal
Kalas was once part of a famous Chelsea victory at Anfield, as Liverpool’s chances of a title slipped away. If that is to be the extent of his Chelsea career, it’s already more than most loanees can say. But could there be more in the future, or will we see him return to the Bridge as well as Anfield in the colors of Fulham or perhaps someone else? Suspect we’ll find out in the next few weeks.