Wednesday 21 March 2018

Chelsea act fast to fill Essien void with €5m Romeu deal

Ben Rumsby

Chelsea filled the void left by the injured Michael Essien by completing the e5m signing of Oriol Romeu from Barcelona.

The 19-year-old defensive midfielder, the second new arrival of the Andre Villas-Boas era, penned a four-year contract and will link up with his new team-mates at the end of Spain's U-20 World Cup campaign.

That might not be until after August 20, a week into the Premier League season.

The Blues are already resigned to being without midfield powerhouse Essien for the first half of the campaign after he suffered a serious knee injury which will sideline him for six months.

Barca confirmed Chelsea had paid e5m for Romeu, with the deal including a buy-back clause of e10m after one year and e15m after two.

The fee was agreed 11 days ago for the player, who was quoted this week as saying: "Chelsea is a great option for me. Leaving Barca hurts, but you have to take your chances."

Romeu joins Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as Chelsea's new recruits -- the latter was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid following his move from Genk.

The capture of Romeu is unlikely to signal the end of the Blues' spending.

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

They may need to sell one of their foreign players to make room in their 25-man Premier League squad for Romeu and there have been reports linking Yury Zhirkov and Alex with a move away.

Irish Independent

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