Fikayo Tomori has said he is determined to enter the pantheon of AC Milan defensive greats and encouraged more English players to move abroad after joining the Serie A side from Chelsea.
The 23-year-old centre back has joined league leaders Milan on loan for the rest of the season with an option to make the deal permanent.
Stefano Pioli’s side are currently two points clear at the top of the Italian Serie A table, but Tomori pointed to the club’s long line of great defenders as key to the move, including current Sporting Director, Paolo Maldini.
“So many great defenders have played at Milan, like Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Franco Baresi,” Tomori said at a news conference yesterday.
“I want to be part of Milan’s history, from the first day here I’ve breathed in the tradition of this club. I’m convinced I’ve made the right decision by coming here.
“Maldini was one of the greatest defenders ever. It was a surprise when he called me, but I didn’t have to think for long before saying yes to him”.
Tomori departed Stamford Bridge after making just one Premier League appearance this season, but sounded out Chelsea’s Thiago Silva, a former Milan player, before making the move.
“I spoke to him, but also with other players who have played in Italy like Jorginho, Emerson Palmieri and Mateo Kovacic,” Tomori said.
“Thiago reassured me, he told me great things. The others also told me positive things about Serie A and Milan.”
Tomori also said he is encouraged by the number of British players heading overseas to find regular game time.
English trio Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Ronaldo Vieira currently ply their trade in Italy, as well as Welshman Aaron Ramsey and young Scot Aaron Hickey.
“It’s a positive thing,” Tomori said.
“In England they’re starting to realise that not only the Premier League exists.
“Before British players didn’t tend to go abroad, but it can be important to have an experience overseas.”