FIKAYO TOMORI'S loan move to AC Milan is 'very close' to being agreed, sporting director Paolo Maldini confirmed.
The Serie A giants are closing in on a temporary deal to sign Tomori till the end of the season, with an option to make the transfer permanent for £27million.
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Milan club legend Maldini revealed a deal is near completion but warned one miss step could scupper plans entirely.
He said: "It's very close, we're in between confirming his signing and not signing him at all, it could all break down with just one detail.
"We saw in him the quality to throw him into the mix with our current defenders, so that's why we want him."
Initially Milan, who are current league leaders in Italy, targeted Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan.
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But with Simakan sidelined for around two months as he requires surgery, Tomori emerged as a priority alternative.
The 23-year-old centre-back is a product of Chelsea's famous academy and has made 27 appearances in total since his debut in 2016.
He made a name for himself on loan at Derby in Frank Lampard's first season as manager, winning their player of the year in 2019.
But when the boss and player moved back to Chelsea, it has been a more inconsistent period for Tomori.
He played 22 times last season, but since the arrival of Brazilian Thiago Silva, 36, last summer, the youngster has just four games under his belt this term.
Kurt Zouma, 26, Antonio Rudiger, 27, and Andreas Christensen, 24, have all been preferred to Tomori this season.
And Lampard admitted having five centre-backs has proved too much to handle.
He said: Fikayo is a developing player. In the squad we had four centre-backs last year.
"I can't play four in one game and you try and find consistency at different times. At one point Fikayo was in that and later on not so much.
"This year we have five centre-backs. So the predicament is difficult for the ones not playing regularly and that is why he might go out on loan, for his development.
"He is a young player. His development has been a huge rise in the last two or so seasons since I have been working with him.
"That will continue and we will find the best path for that."
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