Chelsea Football Club and FC Cologne have agreed a season-long loan for Tomas Kalas which will begin on 1 July.
The Czech defender, 21, will embark upon his second loan spell away from Stamford Bridge having previously spent two seasons - 2011/12 and 2012/13 - at Vitesse Arnhem.
[...]Cologne were promoted back to the German top flight at the end of last season, ending the campaign as second division champions, six points ahead of second-placed SC Paderborn 07.
The young defender came on strong for the club at the end of last season, holding his own against Liverpool's powerful attack in a 2-0 win. The Czech looked calm and composed in his two starts for the club, displaying excellent vision to go with his impressive physical ability.
The departure of David Luiz, as reported by Ligue1.com, could have opened the door for Kalas to spend the 2014-15 season in London. However, at just 21 years of age, another loan spell will guarantee the defender more playing time.
Chelsea Photos wished the youngster good luck, tweeting out the first look at how the 21-year-old will appear in red and white:
Good Luck to Tomas Kalas! Hope he gets more playing time. pic.twitter.com/kioI5GdosK— Chelsea Photos (@ChelsPhotos) June 11, 2014
The Guardian's Dominic Fifield immediately made the link to Kurt Zouma, who will be joining the Blues from Saint-Etienne at the start of next season:
I imagine Kalas' year-long departure from #CFC would ensure Kurt Zouma isn't loaned back to St Eitenne for the year, as had been mooted— Dominic Fifield (@domfifield) June 11, 2014
Kalas previously spent two years out on loan with Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem, and a step up to the more competitive Bundesliga seems like a logical next move.
Cologne are one of Germany's most storied clubs, but recent years have seen the team hover between the country's top two divisions.
The centre-back position was the team's biggest concern last season. The arrivals of Kalas and newly signed Yuya Osako, as shared by FIFA World Cup, will turn a position of weakness into one of strength:
For Kalas, this loan deal presents him with an opportunity to continue developing at his own pace. While the Bundesliga is no joke, Cologne will be less of a high-pressure environment than Stamford Bridge.
The move indicates the Blues are looking at significantly investing in the centre-back position this summer, with Gary Cahill, John Terry, Nathan Ake and Zouma the only players on the squad who would present a natural fit going into 2013-14.
Zouma has shown plenty of potential while on loan at Saint-Etienne, but like Kalas, he lacks the experience to play at the Premier League level. The Express' James Dickenson claims AS Roma's Mehdi Benatia might be the man for the job.
The Giallorossi won't be keen on selling their star defender, but following David Luiz' move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Blues have the financial strength to help the Italians change their minds.