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Chelsea have signed Xavier Mbuyamba from Barcelona

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Young center back joins the Development Squad

Holland U19 v Mexico U19 -U19 Men Photo by Pim Waslander/Soccrates/Getty Images

Xavier Mbuyamba was all set to join Chelsea last summer, but the transfer ban scuppered that deal, so he had to settle for the consolation prize of Barcelona. Not a bad second choice, to be sure, though things haven’t gone exactly according to plan down in Catalonia this year. Even before the first-team imploded against Bayern, Mbuyamba had wanted out, and the team granted his wish last month.

Since then, it was only a matter time before Mbuyamba turned up at Cobham, and according to a few knowing eyes, that has indeed happened this week. While there’s been no official confirmation from the club — UPDATE: now confirmed — @chelseayouth’s word is just as good.

The 18-year-old has signed a three-year contract through 2023, and will initially join the Development Squad. He played most of last season for Barcelona’s U19 team, so it’s important to remember that just because he’s been in the headlines, it doesn’t mean he’s immediately going to jump into the first- team.

Because of his physical size and nationality, Mbuyamba has been compared to Virgil van Dijk, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Welcome, Xavier!