Premier League giants Chelsea on Friday completed their first signing of the January transfer window as they confirmed the £15 million (reported) acquisition of Everton midfielder Ross Barkley.
“Chelsea Football Club has today completed the signing of Ross Barkley from Everton,” a club statement read.
“The 24-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract and will wear the number 8 shirt,” the statement added.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce had, earlier in the week, stated that the talented midfielder was likely to leave and Premier League sides Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur were said to have renewed their summer interest in the versatile midfielder with the Blues eventually winning the race.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started,” Barkley was quoted as saying by the club website upon signing as he continued, “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”.
Barkley, who was once touted as English football’s next big thing, has been sidelined since August with a hamstring injury and his new employers have not yet revealed when the 24-year-old will be making his first-team debut.
Considering he had recently rejoined first-team training at Everton, the 6’2 midfielder is unlikely to feature in their FA Cup third round tie with Norwich City on Saturday.
The Blues take on arch-rivals Arsenal the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on January 10 and Barkley could be in contention to play some part in that cup tie.