Premier League • England

Chelsea fend off Man Utd hijack to announce first signing, but Enzo Maresca faces brutal midfielder rejection

New Chelsea signing Tosin Adarabioyo (image via official Chelsea website -

New Chelsea signing Tosin Adarabioyo (image via official Chelsea website -

Chelsea have fended off a late hijack attempt by Manchester United after announcing the signing of Tosin Adarabioyo, though manager Enzo Maresca is facing an almighty headache regarding a midfield transfer.

Tosin had been one of the most in-demand centre-halves ahead of the summer transfer window thanks in no small part to his free agent status.

Fulham had attempted to tie the 6ft 5in defender down to a new contract at Craven Cottage. Unfortunately for Marco Silva and co. Tosin elected to explore his opportunities of which there were many.

Newcastle emerged as the early frontrunner to sign the 26-year-old, though were quickly swept aside by Chelsea.

The Blues tabled a contract offer to Tosin before upping their terms once new boss Enzo Maresca okayed the signing.

Man Utd – another club on the hunt for new centre-backs – attempted to hijack the deal last weekend.

However, Tosin had already agreed to join Chelsea and elected to stick with the Blues. The defender completed a medical on Tuesday and confirmation of his arrival at Stamford Bridge broke on Friday morning.

Via their official website, Chelsea confirmed Tosin has signed a four-year contract that will keep him in west London until 2028.

Responding to the move, Tosin said:  “Chelsea is a huge club and this is a full-circle moment for me. I was born three miles away from Stamford Bridge and made my professional debut there.

“I’m very excited and looking forward to helping push the club in the direction we want to go.”

Striker signing next; Maresca’s midfield woe

Tosin arrives as the first signing in the Maresca era, though plenty of other new faces are expected to arrive this summer.

A new striker is wanted amid links to Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Benjamin Sesko of RB Leipzig.

Chelsea previously explored the signing of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, though the Nigerian is no longer front and centre in Chelsea’s plans.

A new central midfielder is also wanted to replace Conor Gallagher who is primed to enter the final year of his contract.

TEAMtalk has learned Chelsea’s hierarchy don’t view Gallagher as part of their long-term plans and hope to seal a lucrative sale this summer. Concerns he doesn’t suit Maresca’s possession-based style are rife.

Aston Villa are in talks over the 24-year-old’s signing, while Tottenham are fully prepared to thunder in with a bid when the time is right.

Chelsea value Gallagher around the £50m mark and the proceeds from his sale would represent pure profit on their books given his status as a homegrown player.

However, fresh reports state Gallagher is ready to reject any and all offers he receives to leave his boyhood club.

Gallagher wishes to maintain control over the direction of his career and won’t be pressured into leaving.

The 24-year-old is a life-long Chelsea fan and is prepared to see out the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

That presents a major headache for Chelsea and Maresca who are now facing up to the possibility of losing a highly saleable asset for nothing 12 months from now.

As such, the onus is on Tottenham, Aston Villa and any other suitor to convince Gallagher joining them is the right move for Gallagher’s career.

READ MORE: Chelsea contracts: Conor Gallagher and four more Blues entering the last year of their deals