Brighton and Hove Albion have signed highly-rated Chelsea full-back Fikayo Tomori for the remainder of the season. The Championship club occupy an automatic promotion spot and trail behind leaders Newcastle United with a game in hand, and will hope the 19-year-old can help cement their status in the top two.
Tomori is the second addition made by manager Chris Hughton during the January transfer window, with Jake Forster-Caskey having arrived from Charlton Athletic earlier this month. The teenager embarks on his first loan spell away from Stamford Bridge and will be hoping to repeat the success of Nathan Ake, who impressed Antonio Conte while at AFC Bournemouth.
Reacting to the move on Twitter, Tomori said: "Happy to have joined Brighton on loan for the rest of the season. Hoping to help the team as much as I can to secure promotion to the Premier League."
The Canada and England youth international made his first and only Chelsea appearance on the final day of the 2015-16 season against Premier League champions Leicester City. Though he has failed to make a senior appearance under Conte, Tomori signed a new four-year deal in August and has already made an impression in west London.
After playing a role in the academy teams which won the FA Youth Cup and Uefa Youth League in successive campaigns, Tomori was named the Chelsea academy player of the year award last season – leading to interim boss Guss Hiddink rewarded him with his senior debut. Last summer, his performances for England Under-19s at the European Championships saw him named in the team of the tournament. And Hughton is thrilled to have enlisted the youngster for the remainder of the campaign.
"We have brought in Fikayo on loan from Chelsea to provide us with some additional cover in the full-back positions, and we are delighted to welcome him to the club," he told the official Brighton website. "He is a highly-rated young full-back, by both Chelsea and England; he is predominantly a right-back, but he can play in any position across the back four, and will give us good defensive cover for the first-team for the second half of the season.
"Currently we have a few minor injury issues in the full-back positions, so his arrival will also allow us to send Rob Hunt out on loan to gain valuable playing experience; at this stage of Rob's development, it will benefit his long-term progression to be playing regular senior football."