England left-back Ben Chilwell has become Chelsea’s third high-profile signing of the summer after leaving Leicester for a fee reported to be in the region of £50million.
The 23-year-old has put pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Blues, joining Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner as recent arrivals, and the defender is unlikely to be the last through the door before the transfer window closes.
While neither Chelsea nor Leicester officially disclosed the sum paid for Chilwell, the Foxes said on their website it is “one of the largest transfer fees ever received” by the club.
Chilwell – who made his Leicester debut aged 18 in October 2015 before going on to make 123 appearances, 99 in the Premier League – said: “I am delighted to be joining Chelsea at this very exciting time for the club.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of this young, dynamic squad led by Frank Lampard as we challenge for honours next season.
“I can’t wait to get started and hopefully it won’t be long before we’re playing in front of the Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge.”
Chilwell would have been expected to add to his 11 England caps in next month’s Nations League matches against Denmark and Iceland but injury has precluded his involvement in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
However, his performances for club and country elevated him to Chelsea boss Lampard’s first choice as a new left-back recruit.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said on the club’s website: “We are very pleased to have completed our third addition to our exciting squad for the coming season.
“Ben brings plenty of top-level experience playing in the Premier League, Champions League and at international level, despite his young age.
“We are confident Ben will adapt very quickly to being a Chelsea player and with the fixture programme for 2020/21 especially busy, he is a fantastic addition to the squad needed to challenge for honours.”
Chelsea have been heavily linked with a swoop for veteran Brazil defender Thiago Silva while Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz is still in line to make the switch to Stamford Bridge.
The club have also been running the rule over a number of goalkeeping options, with Ajax’s Andre Onana and Burnley’s Nick Pope both mooted.
West Ham’s England star Declan Rice is another of Chelsea’s main transfer targets and remains on the Blues’ radar.
Owner Roman Abramovich’s staunch backing has put Chelsea in a strong position in the transfer market, with the club able to offset the effects of the coronavirus more adeptly than several other Premier League outfits.