x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Mourinho and Chelsea bring in Croatian teen Mario Pasalic

The 19-year-old Croatian international was signed for an undisclosed fee from Hajduk Split on Wednesday. The central midfielder told the club website that 'my favourite player is Frank Lampard'.

Chelsea signed teenage Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic from Hajduk Split for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.

Pasalic was due to join up with Jose Mourinho’s squad for their first pre-season training session later on Wednesday after arriving at the Premier League club’s Cobham head-quarters.

The 19-year-old is regarded as a dynamic young talent and has already featured in his country’s Under-21 team.

He was also named in Croatia’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad, but didn’t make the final cut for the tournament in Brazil and has yet to make his senior international debut.

“I am very happy because I am now a Chelsea player,” Pasalic told Chelsea’s website.

“I am very impressed by the training ground and I must thank everybody at Hajduk. This is now a new start in my career.

“I am a central midfielder, my favourite player is Frank Lampard, and so I am very happy to be a Chelsea player.”

The German-born youngster came to Chelsea’s attention after enjoying a fine first full season in senior football during 2013-14.

He scored 11 times in 36 appearances in all competitions and helped Hajduk to a third-place finish in the Croatian league.

Pasalic may follow in the footsteps of a number of Chelsea’s young prospects by being sent out on loan to gain more first-team experience.

Chelsea have already loaned Wallace and Bertrand Traore to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem during the close-season, while Tomas Kalas made a temporary move to Cologne and Thorgan Hazard to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Pasalic is Chelsea’s third signing of the transfer window following the more high-profile arrivals of Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona and Spain forward Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid.

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