Chelsea have announced the signing of Everton’s Ross Barkley in a £15 million deal.
24-year old Barkley will wear the number 8 jersey worn by club legend Frank Lampard, after signing a 5-and-a-half year contract.
Barkley is out of contract at the end of the season and Everton’s manager, Sam Allardyce, admitted on Thursday the club was resigned to losing its homegrown talent, who has rejected offers to extend his stay.
Upon signing for the Premier League champions, Barkley said: “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.”
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.”
Manager Antonio Conte explained on Friday why he wanted to bring Barkley to Chelsea. “We are talking about an English player, a young player,” the manager said. “He has good prospects for Chelsea. I think the club decided for this investment also for his contract. I think this is a good opportunity for the club to buy this player. For sure he is a good prospect for Chelsea.”
Conte cautioned against expecting Barkley, who had not played a competitive match since May, to make an immediate impact. “Don’t forget he had a bad injury, he had surgery,” he said.
“This player has not played in seven months … We must have great patience. We have to hope to recover him very quickly, to try to help us for the rest of the season.”