Chelsea unveil first major post-Abramovich signing
Chelsea’s first major signing of the new era at Stamford Bridge has been unveiled after Raheem Sterling joined the club from Manchester City.
Sterling has joined the Blues on a five-year deal reportedly worth more than £300,000 a week ($355,000), with the option of an additional 12 months for the England international.
Chelsea will pay Manchester City an estimated £47.5 million for the 27-year-old, who has jetted out to join the London team on their US pre-season tour.
The club officially announced the capture of Sterling via their social media channels.
Earlier on Wednesday, the incoming Sterling had signaled the move was official as he shared a farewell message to City fans.
“Seven seasons. Eleven major trophies. A lifetime of memories,” read a social media post from the England star.
“To the coaching staff who have played a massive role in my development over the years. To my teammates who have become more than just those I share a pitch with. To the backroom staff. To the office staff. To the fans who have tirelessly supported the team. And to everyone involved with Manchester City, my respect for you couldn’t be greater.
“What a ride it’s been. I am thankful for the ups and downs, as it’s the downs that have, at times, tested my strength and resolve, and enabled me to stand here in front of you as the best possible version of myself.
“I arrived in Manchester a 20-year-old, today I leave as a man. Thank you for your endless support. It’s been an honour to wear the shirt of Manchester City.”
Sterling’s arrival is the first major transfer business Chelsea have done under their new US owners led by financier Todd Boehly.
Boehly and the Clearlake Capital consortium took control of the club in a £4.25 billion deal in May after former owner Roman Abramovich was forced to put Chelsea up for sale shortly before being sanctioned by the UK government.
Boehly, who also co-owns baseball team the LA Dodgers, has taken an active role in Chelsea’s summer transfer business, stepping in for sporting director Marina Granovskaia.
Russian-Canadian Granovskaia left the club having served as Abramovich’s trusted right-hand woman and had typically dealt with the Blues’ transfers business for the past several years.
Longtime chairman Bruce Buck was also among those to depart in a clear break from the previous hierarchy under Abramovich.
On the pitch, Sterling will be expected to add some much-needed firepower for Thomas Tuchel’s men after record signing Romelu Lukaku flopped on his return to the club last summer.
The Belgian has departed to former team Inter Milan on loan in a deal sanctioned by Boehly.
During his seven seasons at Manchester City, Sterling managed 131 goals and 94 assists across 337 appearances in all competitions, winning four Premier League titles. He also been capped 77 times by England.
Elsewhere, Chelsea are said to be edging closer towards a deal for Napoli and Senegal center-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who has reportedly agreed personal terms.
However, Chelsea have missed out on the signature of Brazilian star Raphinha, whose transfer from Leeds United to Barcelona was confirmed on Wednesday.
Chelsea had been keen to land the winger, but his first choice was always said to be a move to the Catalan giants.