Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Chelsea planning transfer announcement ‘soon’ - Blues to reveal confirmed exit imminently

CHELSEA have a transfer announcement coming soon - but it will concern an outgoing deal rather than any incoming player.

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The Blues are set to sell full-back Ola Aina to Torino due to a clause entered into the contract of his loan deal.

The 22-year-old played 30 times in Serie A for the Turin outfit and provided one goal and three assists during that stint.

And according to Torino president Urbano Cairo, Aina’s switch to Italy will be made permanent.

Cairo said to Sky Italia: "We exercised our option to buy Ola Aina, as well as [Christian] Ansaldi and [Koffi] Djidji. Now Torino own all their players."

Aina was among a batch of Chelsea’s most promising academy graduates but has made just six first-team appearances at Stamford Bridge, having had a successful loan spell with Hull before joining Torino.

It had been thought Chelsea were reluctant to sell Aina because of their transfer ban.

The Premier League club are currently banned from registering new players until June 2020 and have been assessing their wide pool of players out on loan to analyse who could come back to play an important role next year.

But Cairo insists that Aina will end his decade-long affiliation with Chelsea, having joined the club as an under-11 when he was then a right-sided winger.

Reacting to Cairo’s comments, Goal’s Chelsea reporter Nizaar Kinsella said on Twitter: “Torino president Urbano Cairo has confirmed that Ola Aina has left Chelsea after his £8.9m (€10m) option was exercised. I have been reporting their intent to do so since January. We should see the social media announcements on official accounts soon. #CFC”

The London-born Nigerian international, who can play on both sides but is predominantly a right-back, only signed a new contract at Chelsea last August.

His displays in Italy’s top division also saw Fiorentina among the clubs linked with a move.

Speaking to the Independent back in April, Aina spoke of how much he has enjoyed his time in Italy.

“The football here is really good, very different,” he said. “You may not know every side as well as Juventus or Napoli, but all of these sides have good players that challenge you.

“The football is very tactical. Everyone seems to think Italian football is slow and boring, just passing. But it’s not like that at all. There's so much that I didn't expect, and the football is really good.”

Asked about a permanent stay, he said: “Why not? It’s a good fanbase. It’s a very cultured club. You can tell by the fans and how everything is run here. It’s a nice place to be and I am very happy right now.”

Aina might have been a valuable option for whomever is Chelsea’s manager next season - with Maurizio Sarri seemingly on the verge of joining Juventus - but Reece James is another youngster who could become a key option at right-back.

James enjoyed an excellent year with Wigan in the Championship and was named in the league’s team of the year, even captaining the Latics on the final day of the season.

However, the 19-year-old will be unavailable to stake his claim in pre-season after suffering ankle ligament damage while playing for England under-20s at the Toulon Tournament.

James had to be taken off on a stretcher and given oxygen amid fears he could have broken his ankle and faces a three-month lay-off.

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