Chelsea have agreed to loan both Tomas Kalas and Nathan Ake to Championship side Middlesbrough for the 2015-16 campaign.
This is according to the London Evening Standard, who understand Jose Mourinho wants the pair of them to prove themselves with a top Championship club before returning to Stamford Bridge in 2016.
Mourinho has loaned several players to Boro - including Kalas, last season - since his former assistant at Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka, took the reigns at the Riverside Stadium in 2013.
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Karanka’s men came agonisingly close to reaching the Premier League at the end of last season, but were denied a place in the top flight by Norwich City, who won last month’s play-off final at Wembley Stadium 2-0.
But Mourinho clearly feels the Championship, and specifically Middlesbrough, provides the ideal platform for his youngster stars to continue learning their trade before returning to his side, ready to complete for a place in the first team.
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Tomas Kalas has talent
Kalas, the 22-year-old Czech Republic international, played 17 times for Middlesbrough last season and impressed Karanka.
Chelsea fans caught their first glimpse of Kalas at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, when he produced a fine performance on his Premier League debut against title-chasing Liverpool at Anfield and helped the Blues keep a clean sheet in the process, and clearly there is real talent there.
But there is also intense competition for places at Chelsea, where John Terry, Gary Cahill and 20-year-old Kurt Zouma all vying for the two centre-back positions.
Nathan Ake must push on next season
Nathan Ake, meanwhile, briefly spent time on loan with Reading last season but failed to make the sort of telling contribution he would have hoped for.
The versatile defensive player, 20, has a bright future ahead of him but needs to showcase his credentials with Middlesborough’s first team next season. There’s already a feeling that the Netherlands Under-21 international’s career has stagnated a little over the past 12 months.
Nineteen-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek is now ahead of Ake in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and is expected to play his fair share of first-team matches under Mourinho next season.
Chelsea fans: do Tomas Kalas and Nathan Ake have long-term futures at Stamford Bridge? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!