Italian football agent Federico Pastorello has claimed that Chelsea's £19m acquisition of Emerson Palmieri from Roma represents the best signing of the January transfer window.
In an interview with the Sun, Pastorello was grilled over which piece of transfer business was the best of the window - a period which saw such deals as Philippe Coutinho moving from Liverpool to Barcelona - and made the surprisingly claim that he believed Chelsea's signing of Palmieri was the finest deal.
The agent said: "Best January signing? Emerson Palmieri at Chelsea, and I’m not just saying that because I was involved in the deal. You’ll see, he’ll be a beautiful surprise for the Blues."
Palmieri is yet to make his debut for Antonio Conte's side, having only just recovered from a cruciate ligament injury. Following former Manchester City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov's arrival in Rome at the start of the 2017/18 campaign, Palmieri struggled to play regular first team football for his side, and was deemed surplus to requirements in the January transfer window.
The 23-year-old is uncapped at senior level, but has received a call-up for the Italian national team despite being capped for Brazil at an Under-17 level. Chelsea paid the price for starting makeshift left-back Davide Zappacosta against Watford on Monday evening, as the Blues were torn apart in a 4-1 thrashing by their London rivals.
Meanwhile, the Blues are believed to have joined the likes of Man City, Arsenal and Spurs in their pursuit of Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international has impressed for his side this season, proving to be a solitary bright spark in an otherwise dismal state of affairs at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea's solid season has come unstuck of late, with Conte's side winning just five of their last ten Premier League matches. With the battle for the top four places set to be one of the fiercest encounters in years, the Blues will need to hope that their injured stars recover in time for the relentless run-in.