Chelsea signs Spanish midfielder Romeu from Barca

Chelsea signed Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu from Champions

League winner Barcelona on a four-year-contract on Thursday.

The 19-year-old defensive midfielder completed the ?5 million

($7 million) move while representing Spain at the Under-20 World

Cup in Colombia.

He made two appearances for Barcelona’s first team last

season.

Romeu will help fill the void left by Michael Essien, who has

been ruled out for six months after injuring his right knee.

”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,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said.

”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.”

Barcelona said in a statement the Oriol deal was worth ?5

million with a buy-back option. The Spanish champions would pay

?10m at the end of next season for him, ?15m the year after.

Romeu is Chelsea’s second offseason signing after Belgian

goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was immediately loaned to Atletico

Madrid after his move from Genk.