x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Chelsea make move for Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu

The Premier League club's €5 million offer underlines their new policy of pursuing elite teenagers from around Europe.

LONDON // Chelsea are negotiating the €5 million (Dh26.4m) transfer of young Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu. Their offer underlines the Premier League's club new policy of pursuing elite teenagers from around Europe.

Since appointing Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager, Roman Abramovich has sanctioned the purchase of Belgium under-21 goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and lodged an offer for Romelu Lukaku, the 18-year-old Belgium international striker.

Romeu made his sole Liga appearance for Barcelona at the end of last season as an 80th-minute substitute, yet is considered one of the principal talents of the European champions youth system. With his access to the first team blocked by Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascehrano, Barca are considering selling the 19-year-old to help fund their long-desired purchase of Cesc Fabregas.

Currently on international duty with Spain's World Youth Cup squad, Romeu would offer cover in a problem position for Chelsea. John Obi Mikel struggled for significant periods of last season as the team's midfield pivot, while Michael Essien has been sidelined by reconstructive surgery on a ruptured cruciate ligament.

Romeu's arrival would, however, increase the likelihood of Josh McEachran being loaned out to gain experience away from Stamford Bridge.

The England under-21 international agreed a lucrative new five-year contract last week.

sports@thenational.ae