Chelsea have signed Aston Villa 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka on a six-year contract for a fee in the region of £20m.
The midfielder made 12 Premier League appearances last season but only started twice and it is understood he is keen to get more top-flight game time.
“It’s been quite hectic but I couldn’t get Chelsea out of my head the last few days so I’m just happy and relieved that it’s all done,” said Chukwuemeka.
“I’m so excited and just can’t wait to get on the pitch, meet all the players and try to win games and trophies with Chelsea.”
Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly added: “Carney is one of the most exciting young players in Europe so we are really looking forward to seeing him in action at Stamford Bridge. We are delighted to be able to bring him to Chelsea and add such a talented young individual to our squad for the new season and beyond.”
The Blues have already signed Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, along with teenagers Eddie Beach from Southampton and Omari Hutchinson from Arsenal.
In late July, Sky Sports News reported that Chukwuemeka – who was part of the England U19 squad that lifted the European Championship title this summer – had no interest in discussing a new contract with the club he has been with since the age of 12.
Barcelona had shown an interest, while Borussia Dortmund inquired about signing him and Chukwuemeka was keen to talk to Dortmund about the possibility, having seen the opportunities given to other young England exports such as Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham.
‘£20m is a good deal for Villa’
Sky SportsNews chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“He’s been described as one of the best young players in England, the reason Aston Villa have sold him is because he only has a year left on his contract.
“When it became clear he wasn’t going to sign a new contract, he was left out of their squad for their pre-season tour. Aston Villa were willing to let him leave as long as they got the right price. From Villa’s point of view, £20m for an 18-year-old player, is a good deal.
“He was also a part of the England U19 side that won the U19 Euros last month and he was in the Team of the Tournament.
“Chelsea are not just signing big-name players like Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling, they almost have a twin-track approach this summer, buying up some of the best young players in England.
“They signed Omari Hutchinson, an 18-year-old winger from Arsenal, and they’ve added Carney Chukwuemeka as well.”
Reddy: Chukwuemeka is a gem of Villa’s academy
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
“Chukwuemeka is a very good player. At 16, he was considered the best 16-year-old in the country, he was already starting for Villa’s U23s and is the gem of their youth system, who they’re very proud of.
“This is very surprising – not in the way that Chelsea have come up with a few shocks – but it was thought he would be heading elsewhere in Europe. Dortmund were very keen, as were Milan, Barcelona got very far in negotiations. It was just the valuation which put those teams off.
“While he is a phenomenal talent at 18, it’s still a bit much to pay when there is no guarantee over how he will continue to develop.
“Chelsea have got themselves a kid who has extraordinary vision, so composed in possession, dribbling awareness and has real surety in himself. I’m excited to see how he develops if he gets the opportunity to advance as he has done at Villa.”
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