London (AFP) – Premier League champions Chelsea completed a challenging transfer window on Friday by bringing in England midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City and Italy right-back Davide Zappacosta from Torino.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte saw moves for several targets fail to come off over the course of the transfer window, but has managed to boost his squad ahead of his side’s Champions League campaign.
Drinkwater, 27, has signed a five-year contract in a deal reported to have cost Chelsea £35 million ($45.1 million, 37.9 million euros), which was announced two and a half hours after Thursday’s transfer deadline passed.
“I’m delighted to be a Chelsea player and can’t wait to get started,” Drinkwater told the Chelsea website.
“It has been a long journey to get here, but I am very happy and am looking forward to helping the club win more trophies.”
The transfer reunites Drinkwater with N’Golo Kante, with whom he formed the all-action central midfield partnership that helped Leicester to their fairytale Premier League triumph in 2016.
Zappacosta, 25, has signed a four-year deal and is believed to have set Chelsea back around £23 million.
He has been capped four times by Italy and played under Conte during his time as national coach.
“Davide is a player of international calibre who Antonio Conte knows well and we have been aware of for some time,” said Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo.
“We are very pleased to be able to bring him to the club and believe he will become an important member of the squad.”
Tempering Chelsea’s satisfaction at the moves for Drinkwater and Zappacosta was the knowledge that several targets eluded them on deadline day.
England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rejected their approach in favour of joining Liverpool from Arsenal and Spanish striker Fernando Llorente elected to move to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur from Swansea City.
In a further twist, 23-year-old England midfielder Ross Barkley changed his mind after undergoing a medical at Chelsea and decided to stay at Everton.
“The two clubs agreed a deal of £35 million and I think personal terms were agreed,” Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri told Sky Sports News.
“After the medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley’s agent, that he had changed his mind and wanted to reconsider his position in the January window.
“He’s currently injured so technically he will be with us. He is under contract for another year. It’s a big surprise, but that’s football.”
Chelsea had previously completed moves for goalkeeper Willy Caballero, defender Antonio Rudiger, midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and Spain striker Alvaro Morata, who joined from Real Madrid in a club-record £58 million deal.
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