Chelsea reaches agreement to sign Spain's Romeu
BANGKOK (Reuters) --q Chelsea have agreed terms with Barcelona to sign Spanish defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu but the Premier League club is unlikely to formalise the deal for some time, manager Andre Villas-Boas said on Saturday.
Romeu is currently on national team duty with Spain at the Under 20 World Cup in Colombia, which runs from July 29-Aug. 20, and would need to pass a medical and agree personal terms with the London club.
Villas-Boas said the 19-year-old would be ideal in bolstering the midfield with Ghanian Michael Essien ruled out for as long as six months to recover from knee surgery after he sustained a cruciate ligament injury.
"It's a sector in which we're struggling with numbers, not only after Michael's injury," Villas-Boas told a news conference in Bangkok during Chelsea's pre-season Asian tour.
"Oriol is a player with a bright future, he still has to evolve and prove himself as a player. He's one of the most interesting bright young players ... hopefully we can agree terms and he can pass a medical.
"Again, we are far from reaching personal terms with the player," he added.
Romeu started his career as a youth player with Espanyol before joining Barcelona's academy in 2004 and played 49 games for the club's reserve side before making his first team debut in La Liga in May.
Villas-Boas also said 19-year-old Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is expected complete a deal to join the Blues from Racing Genk, could be sent straight out on loan.
Cortois is reportedly set to start the season with Atletico Madrid but Villas-Boas said a decision had not yet been taken.
"It is also a question of time and of deciding where we think it is better for him to evolve as a player, in Spain or in another country," he said.
"The Spanish League is extremely competitive and Atletico is a great club to be at, but it is not decided yet."
Chelsea beat a Malaysian XI 1-0 in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday and will play a Thailand Premier League All Stars team in Bangkok on Sunday, before heading to Hong Kong for the final match of their tour.