Chelsea sign Barca starlet

Chelsea today completed the £4.35m signing of Oriol Romeu from Barcelona on a four-year deal.

Chelsea today completed the £4.35m signing of Oriol Romeu from Barcelona on a four-year deal.

The 19-year-old is the second arrival of the Andre Villas-Boas era and will link up with his new team-mates at the end of Spain’s U-20 World Cup campaign.

Barca confirmed Chelsea had paid €5m for the midfielder, with the deal including a buy-back clause of €10m after one year and €15m after two.

The fee was agreed 11 days ago for the midfielder, who was quoted this week as saying: “Chelsea is a great option for me.

“Leaving Barca hurts, but you have to take your chances.”

Oriol’s agent, Magico Diaz, reportedly jetted out to Columbia this week to seal the deal.

That is where Oriol is currently based, having played 90 minutes in Spain’s opening two 4-1 and 2-0 victories over Costa Rica and Ecuador respectively at the U-20 World Cup.

His arrival at Stamford Bridge will help offset the loss of Michael Essien, who faces six months out with a serious knee injury.

Speaking after the fee had been agreed, Villas-Boas said: “It is a part of the squad in which we are struggling with numbers because of Michael Essien’s injury and Oriol is a player with a bright future. He still has to evolve as a player.

“The Barcelona B team had a magnificent year in the Spanish second division, they finished third.

“Oriol had an injury during the season but he came back late on and was in time to play for the first team.

“So he is one of the most promising young players in that position.”

Oriol, who is 6ft and can also play central defence, made his first-team debut for Barca at the end of last season but head coach Pep Guardiola deemed him surplus to requirements.

Chelsea have already signed Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Genk, immediately loaning him out to Atletico Madrid.

And that is unlikely to be the end of the Blues’ spending before the start of the season.

They have seen two bids for Luka Modric rejected this summer and were this week pondering to make a third and final offer for the Tottenham playmaker.

There have also been reports linking Yury Zhirkov and Alex with moves away from Stamford Bridge.

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