Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas will play next season for the German Bundesliga team 1. FC Köln on loan. The team has just returned to the Bundesliga after being in the second German division for a couple of years.
Of course Köln is not one of the top teams in the Bundesliga and they won’t play in a European competition next season, but Kalas might find himself at the right place at the right time.
Cologne is the fourth biggest city in Germany and football has a long tradition there. The team has not been too successful in the last couple of years but the infrastructure and the prospects are excellent. Last season in the second German division they had an average of 46,176 spectators per match, which is more than most of the Bundesliga teams had.
The club is doing everything right now to form a competitive team for the next season. They rejected an 8-million-Euro offer from Benfica Lisbon for their 20-year old top talent Yannick Gerhardt and signed already the top scorer from the second German division Zoller and the Japanese international player Osako.
Jose Mourinho’s interest is of course to let his player get some experience while playing on a competitive level. The Bundesliga is one of the top three leagues in Europe right now and at Köln he will be a regular starter. There would not have been a guarantee for that, if he had gone to a top team of the Bundesliga.
While playing for Köln he will get the chance to play against the best attackers in the Bundesliga like Lewandowski, Robben, Huntelaar or Immobile. That’s exactly the challenge that he will need to develop and at the same time there won’t be any doubt about his regular playing time.
Thanks to Köln’s dominant role in the second German division last season, their good coach and the new signings for the next season, they have very good chances to shine in the Bundesliga. This is important for Chelsea to make sure that Kalas won’t come back demoralised after having a bad season with a weak team.
Chelsea’s decision to send their talented defender to a team like Köln could be an important step for Kalas’ development. The German club is well organized and led by the Austrian coach Stöger and the sporting director Schmadtke, who worked successfully at Hannover before.
Of course there is still the argument that he won’t gain any international experience but that would be the second step.
So far he has only played two matches in the Premier League and before that in the Czech and Dutch league. Playing regularly in a stronger league like the Bundesliga is the next logical step in his development. After that he could still play for another year on loan for a team with European ambitions.