Bristol City finished 8th in the Championship this season, their best finish for over ten years since losing in the promotion playoff final in 2008 to Hull City, who were thus promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history.
Two of the keys to Bristol City’s success have been Chelsea loanees Jay Dasilva and Tomáš Kalas, so much so that head coach Lee Johnson is hoping both can be kept around for next season as well.
That will not be easy however, with both players garnering interest from multiple teams, some probably with greater ambitions or greater challenges than The Robins’ slim hopes of winning promotion next season.
“We’re in constant discussions with Jay and his agent and we’re quite relaxed on it because you can’t force a player to do something that he doesn’t want to do. And it’s not that he doesn’t want to do it, it’s just that it’s got to be right.
“For a player like Jay to commit to Bristol City is something that I believe would be the right move for him. But at the same time it’s got to be right for all parties. We’re all ambitious and Jay’s ambitious as well as a football player and hopefully the club will fulfil that ambition and he’ll end up at Bristol City.
“He’s just met up with the England U21 squad of which he’s captain there, and he’s going into a big tournament with the U21s. Rightly so that his focus has to be on that but also his future.
“I don’t know but I’m confident in the conversations that we’re having that Jay believes that the football club is the right place to develop him.”
Johnson may sound optimistic on the 21-year-old Dasilva, but for Kalas, who just turned 26, the ultimate destination could (should) certainly end up at a higher level, not to mention a higher price.
“It’s difficult to talk about that one. Obviously he’s not our player. I’d love to sign Tomas. We’re in a host of a number of clubs after Tomas. He’s a quality player and that doesn’t come cheap.”
“But saying that he really enjoyed his time here. I think we’ve got a great relationship, in terms of me and him - he understands that he had a great relationship with Webster or Wright, and those connections are there. I’m hopeful but it’s a tough one because it won’t be cheap.”
-Lee Johnson; source: BBC via Bristol Post
Both Dasilva and Kalas have spent a fair amount of time on Chelsea’s books already, with the former arriving as a youth player from Luton Town in 2012, at age 13, while the latter joined in 2010 as a 17-year-old from his hometown club in Czech Republic, Sigma Olomouc. Both players have two years left on their Chelsea contracts.
Of the two, only Kalas has managed to make it to the Chelsea first-team so far, his four appearances all coming in 2013-14, including that famous start at Anfield when Steven Gerrard let the Premier League title slip through Liverpool’s fingers. But he’s spent most of the time out on loan otherwise, and is quite rightly done with that charade. For Dasilva, this was his second full season out on loan, having previously impressed at Charlton for a year and a half.
Both Dasilva and Kalas have earned rave reviews at various times throughout their young careers, but it would appear that their futures lie elsewhere than Stamford Bridge. Will that be at Bristol City? That’s less sure.