Chelsea have beaten Barcelona and AC Milan in the race to Aston Villa wonderkid Carney Chukwuemeka, the Blues announced on Tuesday. Chelsea will pay a reported fee of £20 million to sign the 18-year-old England youth international.
Chukwuemeka, who was born in Austria to Nigerian parents, starred for England at the Under-19 Euros, earning a spot in the Team of the Tournament after helping his country lift the trophy with a win over Israel in the final.
Chelsea announced the deal in a statement, saying: “Aston Villa and Chelsea can confirm that the clubs have reached an agreement for the permanent transfer of Carney Chukwuemeka.
“The 18-year-old has been given permission to travel to London to discuss both personal terms and undergo a medical.”
The 18-year-old originally joined the Aston Villa academy from Northampton Town in March 2016, signing his first professional contract four years later.
In March 2020, Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow claimed that the club had “the best 16-year-old in England” as he drew comparisons to Paul Pogba and Dele Alli.
The midfielder made his senior debut in May 2021 in a 2-1 win against Tottenham and was named Villa’s Academy Player of the Season for the 2020-21 campaign.
He went on to make his first senior start in August 2021, going on to make a total of 13 appearances for Villa during the 2020-21 season.
Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Liverpool all previously considered signing the 18-year-old, while Barca and AC Milan reportedly battled Chelsea in the race to his signature this summer.