This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Manchester City are set to welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening for a clash that could determine the hosts’ ambitions for the season.
Ahead of the game, Shaun Goater spoke to Football FanCast about some of the key themes defining the fixture.
Chelsea’s youngsters have been the flavour of the month in the footballing media since the beginning of the season, with Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori emerging as key players under Frank Lampard.
Manchester City legend Shaun Goater has delivered glowing verdicts on the aforementioned trio, but it’s Tomori who has particularly caught his eye.
In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Goater was full of gushing praise for the 21-year-old centre-back and suggested he could eventually blossom into a £100m player.
“Tomori as well looks one hell of a centre back. He looks like a typical modern day centre-back. You don’t get many inches out of him because he’s quick, he reads the game well, he’s decent on the ball and he doesn’t take risks.
“If he had a long pass in his game, if he could hit a diagonal like John Terry or Virgil van Dijk, then I think you’re talking about a £100m player. If he adds that to his armoury and becomes a bit more comfortable on the ball then all of a sudden you become a weapon at the back in possession. He’s ticking a lot of the main boxes.”
In the current market a fee worth £100m would represent a world record for a defender.
It would eclipse the £80m fee Manchester United paid to secure the services of Harry Maguire in the summer and see him join a distinguished contingent of players who have commanded fees in excess of £100m.
But, as Goater says, there are still aspects of his game that need improving before the Blues can expect to command a fee in that region.
Intriguingly, Tomori actually boasts a marginally superior pass success rate than van Dijk in the Premier League, with 87.7% compared to 86.5%. It is in the long ball department where the Netherlands international stands out, though, completing 4.3 per game compared to Tomori’s 3.1.
The modern game demands an extra level of technical prowess from central defenders and for Tomori that is an aspect of his game he can certainly improve on.
The 6ft enforcer is far from being a world-record breaking defender just yet but there is no doubt he is shaping up to be an incredible prospect, one who is blessed with the core defensive attributes to cement his place at the heart of Chelsea’s defensive unit for years to come.
The fact he is already being mentioned in the same breath as van Dijk and Terry serves to underline the impact he’s already made since returning from his loan spell at Derby County.