Chelsea have completed the signing of Everton midfielder Ross Barkley in a reported £15m, on a five-and-a-half year deal, according to a report from the club official site.
The England international was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea last summer, reportedly undergoing a medical before the deal fell through, but has now moved to Stamford Bridge – taking the No. 8 shirt.
Antonio Conte: ‘We are talking about an English player, a young player, with good prospects for Chelsea.’ #WelcomeBarkley https://t.co/UVibg5uUMg
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 5, 2018
He is yet to play a game this season, having been ruled out of action after hamstring surgery, and will be keen to get back on field ahead of England’s World Cup campaign in Russia later this year.
Barkley netted five goals and registered eight assists last season as the Toffees finished seventh last season, qualifying for the Europa League.
Barkley said on his move:
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started.
“To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it’s unbelievable for me. I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game.”
Ross Barkley will wear Frank Lampard's iconic no. 8 shirt at Chelsea ? pic.twitter.com/k6T376fK6M
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 5, 2018
Club director Marina Granovskaia added:
“Ross is a player we have long admired and are certain he will prove to be an important player for Chelsea. He possesses outstanding technical and physical attributes, matched with good experience of the Premier League and a strong desire to succeed at the highest level. We welcome him to the club and look forward to seeing him in action.”
The 24-year-old will compete with central midfielder N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas for a starting role under Antonio Conte. The Italian boss spoke about his new signing earlier on Friday at his press conference, lavishing praise on him as a “good prospect” via Football London.
Barkley could also be deployed behind Alvaro Morata as an attacking midfielder, with Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro all playing frequently behind a sole striker over the past year or so.
Ross Barkley has not played for Gareth Southgate‘s England squad since May 2016, appearing as a substitute in the Three Lion’s 2-1 victory over Australia.