Chelsea’s Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori, both 19, started four of England’s matches together, including the semi-final and final, in their recently concluded Under-20 World Cup-winning campaign. The pair joined Chelsea at very early ages and have played many youth games alongside each other in defence. They both went out on their first loans this season after making their senior debuts last season.
Clarke-Salter was the first to head out on loan. He spent the season at Bristol Rovers in League One but made only 13 appearances, as his season was derailed by injuries. Tomori joined Championship promotion-winners Brighton and Hove Albion for the second half of the season and made only 10 appearances, but left the south coast having made a good impression on those at the club and particularly impressing manager Chris Hughton.
The duo’s exploits at the Under-20 World Cup have not gone unnoticed as they await the next step in their development. According to the Evening Standard, Tomori is considered by the club to be ahead in his development and the plan is to send him on loan to a Championship club that looks to be a strong contender for promotion, while a move abroad to the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 or La Liga is also a possibility. Clarke-Salter meanwhile will also look for a Championship move this season.
In an ideal world, the pair would move to the same club and continue to start alongside each other but realistically speaking, Hull City could be a loan destination to keep an eye on. With a Roman Abramovich friend, Leonid Slutsky now in charge, Hull have been automatically earmarked as a possible loan destination for Chelsea youth players. More so, Hull have just released Alex Bruce and sold Curtis Davies to Derby County, while Harry Maguire is rumoured to be wanted by Premier League clubs and Andrea Ranocchia is unlikely to return following the end of his loan spell from Inter Milan. Other frequent Chelsea loan partners who might want to take Tomori include Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt. Gladbach have been signing midfielders to replace Mahmoud Dahoud and the possibly outgoing Christoph Kramer, but haven’t yet signed a replacement for Andreas Christensen, who will return to Chelsea for pre-season. Eintracht Frankfurt used Real Madrid loanee Jesus Vallejo and Chelsea loanee, Michael Hector in defence last season and neither is expected to stay for another season.
Here’s hoping the club is able to find the right loan clubs for both of its prized academy defenders.