Chelsea announce first signing of Enzo Maresca era

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Chelsea announce first signing of Enzo Maresca era

Chelsea announce that they have completed their first signing since Enzo Maresca was appointed as head coach earlier in the week.

Chelsea have announced that they have completed the signing of Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer.

Earlier in the week, the Blues confirmed that they had secured the services of Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca as their new head coach.

However, running concurrently alongside negotiations with the Italian, it emerged that Chelsea’s recruitment team were working to win the race to sign soon-to-be free agent Adarabioyo.

The 26-year-old has reportedly been attracting widespread interest in his signature with Newcastle United deemed to be his most likely destination at one stage.

Instead, Adarabioyo has decided to make the shortest of moves to Fulham’s West London neighbours, his contract at Stamford Bridge commencing on July 1.

What has Adarabioyo had to say?

Speaking to the club’s official website, the centre-back said: “Chelsea is a huge club and this is a full-circle moment for me. I was born three miles away from Stamford Bridge and made my professional debut there.

‘I’m very excited and looking forward to helping push the club in the direction we want to go.”

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, who spearheaded the pursuit, added: “We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea. Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

© Reuters

How has Adarabioyo earned Chelsea move?

On the debut mentioned by Adarabioyo, he was part of a youthful Manchester City side that suffered a 5-1 defeat to Chelsea, albeit featuring in a backline that contained Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Adarabioyo would go on to make eight outings for City, with the next phase of his development taking place during loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers before he settled on Fulham.

Since the 2020-21 campaign, Adarabioyo has made 132 appearances for the Cottagers, helping Fulham win the Championship title during 2021-22.

Although he was restricted to 20 Premier League outings last season, victories over Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were posted with him in the backline.

The former England Under-19 international will now challenge Axel Disasi, Benoit Badiashile, Levi Colwill and Wesley Fofana for a starting role, as well as Trevoh Chalobah depending on whether the academy graduate is sold.

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