Transfer news

Chelsea to snap up Barca starlet Romeu

July 23, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Andre Villas-Boas has revealed that Chelsea have agreed a fee with Barcelona for highly-rated defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu, though the Blues confirmed he "has yet to have a medical or agree personal terms".

Oriol Romeu Spain
PA PhotosOriol Romeu (r) has represented Spain at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-20 level

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Romeu, 19, made his debut for Barca at the end of last season in a 0-0 draw with Deportivo La Coruna but the Spanish and European champions' embarrassment of riches in midfield - including the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets - means the chances of him breaking into the first-team on a full-time basis appear slim.

However, Villas-Boas is a big fan the Spanish starlet, who is currently away with his country at the Under-20 World Cup, and it is thought the new Chelsea boss was keen to take Romeu to Porto before he left the club for Stamford Bridge.

Reports in the English and Spanish press on Friday suggested that a fee of around £5 million was on the table, though a sticking point was thought to be Barca's desire to insert a buy-back clause into any deal.

Whether that has been agreed remains to be seen, but the two clubs have now settled on a fee, with the Blues confirming the news on their official website.

A statement said: "Chelsea Football Club has agreed terms with Barcelona for the transfer of Oriol Romeu. The news was announced by Andre Villas-Boas in Bangkok."

The transfer will likely raise questions about the future of John Obi Mikel, who was expected to feature more heavily at the start of the new campaign because of Michael Essien's long-term injury, while Romeu will also be competing with Blues stalwart Frank Lampard, Brazil international Ramires and academy graduate Josh McEachran for a place in the heart of Villas-Boas' midfield.