Chelsea have confirmed their fifth departure of the summer after defender Tomas Kalas joined Fulham on a season-long loan deal. The defender is not in Antonio Conte's immediate plans and will spend another season away from Stamford Bridge after spending last season on loan with Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough.
"Tomas Kalas has this evening joined Fulham on a season-long loan. The Czech defender, 23, spent last season with Middlesbrough and returns to the Championship with our west London neighbours," says a statement on Chelsea's official site.
The Czech Republic international joined the Blues in 2011 from Sigma Olomouc and made his debut for Chelsea in the latter stages of the 2013/14 campaign. He has since spent time on loan first at FC Koln, which was cut short after he failed to make even a single appearance for the first-team, and most recently with Middlesbrough, whom he helped to gain promotion to the Premier League last season.
Fulham were delighted to capture the signing of the talented young defender, who had also garnered interest from the Teesiders and they wanted to sign him on a permanent basis. The defender was keen to remain in England and admitted that the Craven Cottage outfit's keen interest is what prompted him to choose a move to the club, which battled relegation in the Championship last season.
"Fulham were really active, trying to reach me, calling me, and I was quite happy to see that interest. I could really see that the club and the manager want me," Kalas told Fulham's official website after the deal was announced.
The 23-year-old has set himself the target of achieving promotion or at least making the playoffs with Fulham this season. He said: "Hopefully promotion or at least the playoffs."
"When I was at Middlesbrough nobody expected us in the playoffs, and after the two seasons Fulham have had, no one expects them to be that high. But why not? After two bad seasons should come the better one," the Czech defender explained.