Soccer

Chelsea confirm deal to sign Aston Villa star in shock £15m transfer

Chelsea have confirmed they have agreed a deal with Aston Villa to sign England U21 midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka.

Chukwuemeka, who turned 18 in October, played 19 games for Villa after making his first-team debut at the end of the 2020-21 season.

The highly-rated midfielder made 11 Premier League appearances last season under Steven Gerrard and was hailed as a ‘future star’ by former Arsenal and England winger Paul Merson.

Chelsea’s deal for Chukwuemeka is believed to be worth an initial £15m, although the overall package could rise to above £20m if various add-ons are met.

A statement from Chelsea read: ‘Aston Villa and Chelsea can confirm that the clubs have reached an agreement for the permanent transfer of Carney Chukwuemeka.

‘The 18-year-old has been given permission to travel to London to discuss both personal terms and undergo a medical.’

Chukwuemeka, who was Aston Villa’s Academy Player of the Year for 2020-21, will travel to London tonight to complete the transfer and put pen to paper on a six-year deal at Stamford Bridge.

He is expected to undergo his medical tomorrow, with Chelsea hoping to unveil the midfielder as their third summer signing before their Premier League opener against Everton on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel has already welcomed England forward Raheem Sterling and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea this summer, while the Blues continue to work on a deal for Brighton defender Marc Cucurella.

Discussing Chukwuemeka’s talent after his first senior start for Aston Villa last August, Merson told Sky Sports: ‘You look at the positives for Villa, the young kid, Chukwuemeka was very good.

‘He has got a bright future. I don’t see a lot of the kid’s football. First-half, he was outstanding. He was gliding across the pitch.

’17-years-old, you are playing in the Premier League in the centre of midfield. I mean that’s a big ask.

‘He will be an absolute star. He glides across the pitch. He is a nice size. He gets on the ball. He looks for it and makes runs without the ball. I think Aston Villa fans leaving the match will definitely be talking about him.’

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