Boss Frank Lampard has insisted out-of-favour centre-half Fikayo Tomori is part of his long-term plans at Chelsea but says the England international will benefit from going out on loan for the rest of the season.
Tomori, 23, has only played four times for the Blues this term, with his appearance in the 4-0 win over Morecambe in the FA Cup on Sunday his first since September.
Fellow centre-backs Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are all ahead of Tomori in the pecking order.
“He absolutely has a long-term future at the club,” Lampard said. “We will see if and when he goes on loan.
“When I took him to Derby with me he was player of the year, one of the best players in the Championship and came back and played 25-plus games for us at a very young age and got in the England squad.
“There is an absolute long plan for Fikayo in my head about his career here and if it is to go and play games it will be to enhance his personal development, hopefully helping whatever team he goes to and coming back a better player.”