Bayer Leverkusen forward André Schürrle is to become José Mourinho’s first signing in his second spell as Chelsea manager, after the West London club agreed a deal today.
The Germany international will join Chelsea subject to a medical for a fee of £18m, according to a post on the club’s official website. Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler had been in London to discuss a transfer in April, although the two clubs were unable to agree on a fee then. However, a statement released earlier on the club’s official website read: “Chelsea Football Club and Bayer 04 Leverkusen have reached an agreement for the transfer of André Schürrle, subject to the completion of legal documentation and related matters, including personal terms and passing a medical.”
Schürrle scored 11 goals in 34 appearances this season as Bayer secured third place and automatic Champions League qualification under former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypiä, with the former Mainz forward playing in a left-sided role to complement teammate Stefan Kießling, whose 25 goals crowned him as the Bundesliga’s top scorer.
Born in nearby Ludwigshafen, 22 year-old Schürrle began his career at Mainz, where 20 goals in 68 appearances saw him heralded as one of the finest young talents in the country. A move to Leverkusen beckoned on the back of a 15-goal season (forming a fruitful partnership with Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby) and Schürrle provided a return of 7 goals in 31 games.
Chelsea moved for the German earlier, with Völler confirming interest in the summers of both 2011 and 2012, but also stating that there was no contact after Bayer had set a £23.5m price tag on their star man. Yet the move has finally come to fruition, and Schürrle leaves Leverkusen having played over 80 times and netting on 23 occasions alongside numerous assists, while cementing his place as a regular in Joachim Löw’s talented Germany side.
Schürrle made his international debut in 2010, becoming (alongside newly transferred Bayern midfielder Mario Götze) the first German international to be born in the re-unified Germany. He had previously scored 10 goals in 11 games for the U19s and 5 in 5 for the U21s, and bagged his first senior goal against Uruguay in 2011. He has since won 24 senior caps and has 7 international goals, being named in the squad for the 2012 European Championships.
Primarily a left sided player but also comfortable playing in central roles as a second and main striker, Schürrle will bolster Chelsea’s attacking options greatly as they look set to challenge for the title and are many people’s favourites already, despite Manchester City’s intent being outlined with the signings of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas.
In other Chelsea news, Belgian loanees Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku have spoken of their futures at the club. Courtois enjoyed a fine second season with Atletico Madrid, winning the Copa del Rey and winning the prestigious Zamora Trophy for the league’s best goals conceded to games ratio. The giant shot-stopper confirmed he will spend another season playing in Madrid. International teammate de Bruyne said in an interview with Sky Sports that Mourinho has yet to contact him after a season at Werder Bremen, while Lukaku is reported to have told press that Mourinho has assured him of game time at Stamford Bridge in the coming season.
Napoli striker Edinson Cavani has been widely reported as on his way Chelsea, and Mediaset reported that the two clubs had agreed a fee earlier this week.
Position: Left winger, second striker, striker
Stronger foot: Right
Best attributes: Finishing, pace, off the ball runs
Plays a bit like: Lukas Podolski, David Villa, Marco Reus