Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas has hinted that he has no intention of sitting in the stands or even on the bench next season.
In an interview with the Observer, the young centre-back said, “Am I ready to step up? If I say ‘Yes’ I show myself to have a big head. If I say ‘No’ it’s like I don’t have any confidence; so somewhere in between.
“It’s up to me, but if I wasn’t confident enough to play the games I’d tell the manager, ‘Sell me or loan me somewhere else now.’ I have to be confident to play.”
And he certainly is, if his first senior start for Chelsea in their recent match against Liverpool is anything to go by.
The 20-year-old Czech starred on that day, leading some Blues fans to liken him to John Terry. But it was his comment about a possible loan move that got me thinking.
It seems clear Kalas wants to remain at Stamford Bridge and fight for his place. But with John Terry, Gary Cahill and the like already there, and Kurt Zouma soon to arrive with Raphael Varane tipped in some quarters to follow, just how many chances will Kalas get?
There will be times, as there was against Liverpool, but will they be enough to give Kalas the games he deserves?
If not, there is a solution of sorts, if one that is unlikely to go down well with the majority of Chelsea fans, and that would be to send Kalas on loan to Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ side has suffered from defensive issues this season, and Kalas has the ability to strengthen that area of the Reds’ team. He could also get invaluable first-team experience at the highest level before he ultimately steps into Terry’s shoes at Chelsea.
The Blues have shown they are not averse to loaning players either abroad or domestically, with Liverpool taking Victor Moses temporarily off their hands this season, but Kalas would be a different kettle of fish.
He could – if he is as good as some believe – be the difference between title success and failure for Liverpool (considering how close they were this season); which would mean Chelsea missing out on that prize.
But if Mourinho is confident enough that his own squad have enough to trump Liverpool and the rest next season, a year at Anfield would certainly be more beneficial for Kalas than a campaign spent predominantly on the bench for his parent-club.