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Chelsea have brought an end to a long transfer saga after as they finally completed the signing of Arsenal target Ross Barkley from Everton.
Just as Arsenal, the Blues came close to signing Barkley in the summer, only for the deal to collapse at the last minute. But the Premier League champions reignited their interest this January and were successful this time in the acquisition of the midfielder for a fee of 15 million.
The midfielder has been nursing a hamstring tear which has kept him out since the end of last season, but is close to full recovery now. However, Conte will not be keen to rush him back as he stated in his pre-match conference ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup tie against Norwich.
He said: ‘For sure we’re talking about a young player, an English player. He can have good prospects for Chelsea.
‘I think the club decided on this investment also for his contract. ‘He’s very young. He has a lot of space for improvement. He’s very strong physically, good technique. He’s a good prospect but at the same time, it will be very important to understand when he can recover from his injury.
He had a bad injury & has not played for seven months. We have to hope to recover him very quickly & have him for the rest of the season.’
Ross Barkley was signed to provide competition for Fabregas, Bakayoko and Drinkwater in the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, and speaking after completing the move, he 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.”
He will wear the shirt No.8 previously worn by club legend Frank Lampard, after putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half-year contract.