Chelsea announce first summer signing as Maresca reunited with former player

    Chelsea have announced a deal to sign defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer.

    The centre-back, who will become a free agent when his contract at Fulham expires on June 30th, has agreed a four-year deal at Stamford Bridge.


    Adarabioyo emerged as hot property during a fine 2023/24 campaignCredit: Getty

    The England youth star came through the academy at Manchester City, where he played under new Blues boss Enzo Maresca, who previously worked as City’s Elite Development Squad coach.

    Newcastle were considered frontrunners to sign the 26-year-old and Manchester United were also linked with a move before Chelsea swooped in.

    talkSPORT understands Adarabioyo was waiting to see who qualified for European football, with Chelsea sealing a place in the Europa Conference League, while Newcastle were left empty-handed.

    The Blues consider the Englishman to be a proven Premier League player and were drawn to him for aerial prowess, along with a strong injury record and his previous experience working with Maresca.

    Adarabioyo joins a Chelsea side that has City’s fingerprints all over it, with Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia also coming up through the champions’ academy.

    Director of football Joe Shields also used to be the chief scout at the Etihad and has had plenty of say in the transfer window under Clearlake Capital’s ownership of the Blues.

    Chelsea are expected to sell academy stars this summer, including Trevoh Chalobah, who has interest from United and Bayern Munich.

    They are also looking to fill the gap left by Thiago Silva after the veteran defender announced his exit earlier in the season.

    Signing free agent Adarabioyo is also a boost to Chelsea’s efforts to keep in line with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, having spent lavishly in the last two years.

    The defender was a key player for Fulham under Marco Silva, though he missed the start of the season due to groin surgery.

    Former Chelsea star Joe Cole calls Conor Gallagher the club’s ‘most important player’ and pleads for the owners not to sell him

    Last season, he made 25 appearances in all competitions and a total of 132 for the Cottagers.

    Ahead of his move being made official on July 1, Adarabioyo said: “Chelsea is a huge club and this is a full-circle moment for me. I was born three miles away from Stamford Bridge and made my professional debut there.

    “I’m very excited and looking forward to helping push the club in the direction we want to go.”

    Meanwhile, co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart said: “We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea. Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

    “He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

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