Frank Lampard has confirmed that Fikayo Tomori could be set to leave Chelsea on loan.
Leeds have been tipped to snap up the centre-back, who has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
He came on as a late substitute in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Morecambe.
It was his first outing since September and only his fourth appearance of the season.
And boss Lampard said the possibility of a loan move was the reason Tomori, 23, was not in the starting line-up.
“The situation with Fikayo is kind of open at the moment,” Lampard explained.
“There’s a possibility he could be going on loan to get games somewhere else.
“That would have to be the right solution for him and the club.
“That was part of my thinking of not starting with him today. I gave him some minutes at the end.
“Whilst we’re looking at that (possible loan move) I wanted to make sure that it (him playing) was the right thing for us as a club and him individually. So he didn’t start for that reason.”
Tomori previously played under Lampard while on loan at Derby and was given his chance in the Chelsea first team by him last season.
This term the player’s progress has stalled and he faces major competition for a place in Lampard’s team.
But Lampard said: “His attitude whilst not playing so much recently – and it’s not easy, there are five centre-back at the club – has been fantastic in terms of training every day and how he is.”