Over the years, we’ve become used to seeing the best of the best from the Chelsea Academy leave before they had a chance to reach their very best. It’s sort of become the accepted, expected norm.
More recently however the paradigm has shifted, and at long last, we’ve started seriously incorporating some of our glittering youth talent into the first-team. Unfortunately, that also makes it harder to take if they do still end up leaving — sure, business is business, but there is also emotion in football — such as in the case of Fikayo Tomori, who joined AC Milan in January on loan, and, as of today, permanently as well. We had thought Tomori made the proverbial jump, and he did. But he had fallen away for some still unexplained reason.
The writing had been on the wall for a while, so his departure is not unexpected, but it’s still sad.
It’s also an emotional moment for Tomori of course, leaving the place he’s called home since age 8 for good. (Well not his actual home, but you know what I mean.) The 23-year-old posted a heartfelt message on Instagram, thanking everyone, from fans to teammates to coaches and staff.
“Wow.. where do I start? A club I’ve been with since I was 8 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.
“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 .#KTBFFH #CFC”
We will miss you, too, Fik.
Tammy Abraham, who may yet befall a similar fate, posted an emotional response as well to his Instagram. Wonder what the future holds for him...
“From the ground up, we grew together, we grinded together, even when they doubted us & the Lord God guided us. We’ve come so far! & this is just the start Good luck in this new challenge. Going to miss you brother @fikayotomori go rip it up! Love you bro ❤️ TA x FT”