Chelsea agree £19m deal to sign Aston Villa teenage prospect Omari Kellyman

Chelsea in talks to sign Aston Villa teenage prospect Omari Kellyman
Omari Kellyman is seen as a big prospect inside Villa Park - Getty Images/Neville Williams

Chelsea have agreed a deal worth £19 million with Aston Villa to sign teenage prospect Omari Kellyman, with Ian Maatsen on the brink of completing his move to the Midlands.

Kellyman, an 18-year-old attacking player, was seen as a big prospect inside Villa Park and Chelsea first enquired about him in January before making a firm move this month.

Chelsea have not yet abandoned their interest in Villa striker Jhon Duran, but are hesitant to proceed at speed after making checks on his background and personal terms. Chelsea are checking on other striker targets, who include Hoffenheim’s Maximilian Beier.

In the meantime, Chelsea have clinched the deal for Kellyman, who will sign a six-year contract with the option of a further 12 months and was initially valued at £20 million by Villa.

The expectation is that Kellyman will join Chelsea’s first-team squad for pre-season, but could be loaned out next season to get more senior experience and prepare him for the following campaign.

Villa have agreed to sign Maatsen in a separate deal worth £37.5 million, with the player expected to seal the move imminently, but must also sell players to comply with profit and sustainability rules.

In what has been described as an “illiquid market”, clubs are having to create liquidity by finding agreements for players to move in opposite directions in separate transfers.

Kellyman joined Villa two years ago from Derby County and signed a long-term contract with the club only last October before making his Premier League debut in the defeat to Manchester City in April.

The teenager can play in a variety of different attacking positions and is seen as a similar profile of player to Kai Havertz, being able to play as a number 10, off the flank or as a false nine.

Chelsea believe he is one of the brightest young talents in the country and took the decision to sign him now, rather than risk facing fierce competition later in his career.

Villa looking at transfer window trades

Kellyman is the second highly rated youngster to move from Villa to Chelsea in the past two years, following Carney Chukwuemeka’s £20 million switch in August 2022.

Villa have held positive talks with left-back Maatsen after agreeing a deal with Chelsea and expect to conclude the move imminently.

The club have also enquired about Conor Gallagher, who is away with England at the European Championship and has also attracted the interest of Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid.

As well as Duran, Chelsea have enquired about 20-year-old Atletico Madrid striker Samu Omorodion and are interested in Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke, who came through the Blues’ academy.

Beier is also on Chelsea’s list of striker targets, having scored 16 goals in the Bundesliga last season, while sources in Spain have linked Chelsea with Barcelona’s 18-year-old forward Marc Guiu, who is also said to be on Bayern Munich’s radar.

Bayern are set to complete a deal for Michael Olise, who Chelsea had made an approach to Crystal Palace for before pulling out of a proposed deal because of the winger’s salary expectations.

Chelsea will still attempt to sign a winger this summer and are now likely to look at right-footed options to help balance their squad for new head coach Enzo Maresca.

Villa’s strategy for the transfer window so far has been to try to trade with clubs. Douglas Luiz is expected to join Juventus in a deal that will see players move in the opposite direction, while midfielder Tim Iroegbunam has joined Everton with Lewis Dobbin lined up to go to Villa Park. Villa will also sign Ross Barkley from Luton Town.

Teenage Brazilian winger Estevao Willian will join Chelsea next summer, with the club also in talks to sign young Argentine defender Aaron Anselmino.

Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign 17-year-old Estevao from Palmeiras for an initial £29m fee, plus performance and appearance-related add-ons.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Anselmino has been the subject of an official offer to Boca Juniors, reportedly worth between £12m and £15m.