Everton midfielder Ross Barkley signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea that would cost the defending Premier League champions £15m.
Barkley, 24, leaves Everton after 13 years at Goodison Park and having not played for seven months because of a hamstring injury and had surgery in August. He joined Everton’s academy as an 11-year-old in 2005 and played 150 times in the Premier League, scoring 21 goals as well as securing 22 caps for England.
The player previously turned down a £30m move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in August despite rejecting a new deal at Everton. With his Goodison contract expiring in the summer, he has now moved for £15m less.
With the Blues, Barkley will wear the number eight shirt at Chelsea — previously assigned to Frank Lampard and Oscar.
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “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.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes that Barkley is a “complete player” and hopes the midfielder can fulfil his potential at Stamford Bridge especially with his additional advantage of understanding the English footballing landscape.
“We are talking about a player with great potential,” Conte said. “He is a complete player but, at the same time, he is very young. He is complete because he has it all. He has stamina, he is strong physically and he has good technique. He is fast. He is a modern footballer.”
“An English player understands very well this league because you grow [up] in this league. For Chelsea, also, it is positive to buy English players because we lost important players like John Terry and Frank Lampard.”