CHELSEA yesterday confirmed the signing of Brazil playmaker Oscar from Internacional for a fee of £25m as their bid to return to Premier League title contention gathers pace.
This summer’s resolute reshaping of the Chelsea squad is the most significant seen at the club since Jose Mourinho’s appointment as manager in 2004, a year after billionaire owner Roman Abramovich’s arrival, and represents a continuation of the intention to recruit some of the world’s brightest young footballers.
Striker Didier Drogba imminently followed Mourinho to Stamford Bridge but this summer departed for Shanghai Shenhua in China and along with Oscar, Marko Marin and brothers Eden and Thorgan Hazard, the arrival of both a striker and a defender could yet come to fruition.
Oscar, who has been compared to compatriot Kaka and began his career with Sao Paulo before joining Internacional, is already in London as part of Brazil’s squad for London 2012.
Though his arrival adds further competition for places in a midfield where Frank Lampard, Jon Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles, Oriol Romeu and fellow Brazilian Ramires already compete, the former is adamant it is that element that will benefit Chelsea’s pursuit of honours. He said: “We have to perform at a high level to stay in the team because of the quality we have.”
Marseille’s Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has said Chelsea also wish to sign him.