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Chelsea make first January signing and first loan recall

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Blues sign 16-year-old Austrian youth international Thierno Ballo and recall Kasey Palmer from Huddersfield (and Ike Ugbo, too, from Barnsley)

Austria v England - UEFA European Under-17 Championship Qualifier
No, not Rhian Brewster, the other guy.
Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Getty Images

Chelsea are wasting no time in getting the January transfer activities under way, kicking off the month-long transfer window with a youth signing and a loan recall.

The former is 16-year-old Thierno Ballo (can’t spell Ballon d’Or without Ballo), who has apparently completed a move that has been in the works for some time, signing with Chelsea on his 16th birthday yesterday from FK Viktoria Köln of the German fourth division. The Austrian youth international is apparently quite highly rated (obviously, if Chelsea are interested) but other than playing as a striker, there is little other useful information available about him. He was born in Conakry, Guinea in 2002 (there’s something to make you feel old) but is eligible for Austria and Cote d’Ivoire (through his father) as well.

A slightly more known quantity than Ballo is 21-year-old Kasey Palmer, who was yesterday recalled from Huddersfield Town after making just 5 appearances and playing barely over 240 minutes in the first-half of the season. Palmer suffered a hamstring injury in September, which put him out of commission for over two months, but he’s played just 45 minutes in December and wasn’t even making manager David Wagner’s matchday squads.

Palmer thanked the Terriers and their fans for being great hosts to him for the past 18 months on social media.

Presumably, a new loan awaits him this month, though perhaps a division below the Premier League. 2017 was not a good year for Palmer, with the hamstring injury adding to an Achilles problem that caused him to miss most of the second-half of last season. Hopefully 2018 will be better and he can resume his development that made him one of the more promising recent Chelsea Academy graduates.

UPDATE: Chelsea have now recalled Ike Ugbo as well. The 19-year-old striker scored on his second appearance with Barnsley but has found the back of the net just twice in 18 total games and had featured only sporadically over the past couple months.