Midfielder Ross Barkley has sealed his move to Chelsea and signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with the current Premier League champions after a reported failed transfer in the summer of 2017.
The attacking midfielder will don the No. 8 shirt, made famous by the club’s record goal scorer Frank Lampard. It was confirmed by Chelsea that the 24-year-old’s arrival on their website on Friday. No financial details were disclosed but according to media reports in Britain, the London club has signed Barkley for a cut-price 15 million pounds.
Lampard was 23 when he joined Chelsea from West Ham United in 2001 and went on to score 211 goals for the Blues in all competitions.
Liverpool-born Barkley made 179 appearances for the Merseyside club he joined as an 11-year-old, scoring only 27 times in all competitions.
An excited Barkley said that a move to Chelsea offers a “fresh start” and a chance to add more elements to his all-round game, specifically in the goalscoring department.
Barkley, who has not played this season because of a hamstring injury, told Chelsea’s website;
“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.”
Barkley’s first challenge will be to regain full fitness before trying to establish a role in Antonio Conte’s team, which already features world class midfielders such as Tiemoue Bakayoko, N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas.
A strong ball carrier who can also play wide or behind the main striker, the powerfully built Barkley would offer Conte more attacking options.
“He’s very young. I think he has a lot of space for improvement. He’s strong physically and has good technique,” Conte on Friday said before the deal was announced, adding that expectations should be tempered given that Barkley has not played for seven months.”
Chelsea’s club director Marina Granovskaia said Barkley was a player the club had admired for a long time.