Blues snap up £4.35m Oriol

The 19-year-old is the second arrival of the Andre Villas-Boas era

and will link up with his new team-mates at the end of Spain’s

Under-20 World Cup campaign. Barca confirmed Chelsea had paid

5million euros for the midfielder, with the deal including a

buy-back clause of 10million euros after one year and 15million

euros after two. The fee was agreed 11 days ago for the midfielder,

who was quoted this week as saying: “Chelsea is a great option for

me. “Leaving Barca hurts, but you have to take your chances.”

Oriol’s agent, Magico Diaz, reportedly jetted out to Columbia this

week to seal the deal. That is where Oriol is currently based,

having played 90 minutes in Spain’s opening two 4-1 and 2-0

victories over Costa Rica and Ecuador respectively at the Under-20

World Cup. His arrival at Stamford Bridge will help offset the loss

of Michael Essien, who faces six months out with a serious knee

injury. Speaking after the fee had been agreed, Villas-Boas said:

“It is a part of the squad in which we are struggling with numbers

because of Michael Essien’s injury and Oriol is a player with a

bright future. He still has to evolve as a player. “The Barcelona B

team had a magnificent year in the Spanish second division, they

finished third. “Oriol had an injury during the season but he came

back late on and was in time to play for the first team. “So he is

one of the most promising young players in that position.” Oriol,

who is 6ft and can also play central defence, made his first-team

debut for Barca at the end of last season but head coach Pep

Guardiola deemed him surplus to requirements. Chelsea have already

signed Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Genk, immediately

loaning him out to Atletico Madrid. And that is unlikely to be the

end of the Blues’ spending before the start of the season. They

have seen two bids for Luka Modric rejected this summer and were

this week pondering to make a third and final offer for the

Tottenham playmaker. There have also been reports linking Yury

Zhirkov and Alex with moves away from Stamford Bridge.