Tomáš Kalas, technically Chelsea’s longest-serving player, has been on loan at Fulham for the last two years and part of the loan army for the last eight. But the 25-year-old has finally grown tired of that lifestyle and he wants to settle down. His ideal job would be playing either for Chelsea or Fulham in the Premier League. He’s not picky.
Fulham on the other hand might be picky. Kalas had two successful loans with the Cottagers, but he did not finish this season as a regular starter — an injury gave Denis Odoi a chance, and the non-loanee kept his spot even after Kalas returned. Odoi’s already under contract for next season; are Fulham willing to spend real money on Kalas in this case?
As a newly promoted side, Fulham will need to spend much of their incoming Premier League millions if they are to hold their own next season. But after four years in the Championship, they will be (or should be) watching their pennies carefully as well. The financial gap between the top two divisions is massive, to say the least. It’s easy to overspend at the top and pay the price exponentially later.
Kalas revealed earlier this week that Fulham owe Chelsea a certain amount for him already. The agreement between the two neighbors apparently stipulated that at the end of the season, Fulham would have to either pay a loan fee (of an unknown amount) and return Kalas to Chelsea, or pay a transfer fee (of probably a larger unknown amount) and keep the defender.
According to the Mirror (via the Hammyend), that second fee is nice, round £10m. That seems like a reasonable demand for an experienced Championship player who was good enough to be a regular starter for a Premier League-bound side.
Whether or not Fulham see it the same way, indeed whether or not Fulham see a centre-back as an area of priority in their summer buying plans, is something we probably won’t know for a few weeks yet. But at least one area of uncertainty has been removed, if the report is true. An asking price has been set for Kalas’ services. Now he waits to see if anyone will snap him up and finally discharge him from the loan army.