Chelsea have signed centre-back Benoit Badiashile from Monaco on a seven-and-a-half year deal, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.
Badiashile, 21, has made 135 appearances for Monaco and has been capped twice by France, having risen through the national team's youth ranks. ESPN reported earlier this month that the transfer was worth €37 million.
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"I'm very happy to be here at Chelsea. I'm so excited to start playing for this club," Badiashile said in a statement on the club's official website. "I can't wait to see the fans and start playing in the best league in the world."
He represents the latest step in new co-owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital's plan to sign young players with big potential on long-term deals as part of an overhaul of Chelsea's squad under head coach Graham Potter.
Signed, sealed and delivered! 📨#BonjourBenoit 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/pE8cFT2cPo— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 5, 2023
"We're delighted to welcome Benoit to Chelsea," Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali said in a joint statement.
"He's an excellent young player who has quickly established a strong reputation for himself and has a huge amount of experience for his young age. We are sure he will form an important part of our team in the years ahead."
RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol had been Chelsea's top defensive target but the two clubs did not agree a fee.
The highly rated youngster bolsters Chelsea's defence after the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers in the summer.
Chelsea brought in centre-backs Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly from Leicester City and Napoli respectively to cover for those exits, while full-back Marc Cucurella, signed from Brighton, can also play in that position.
But the 6ft 4in Badiashile gives Graham Potter's side another option at the back as they look to climb up the Premier League table following a poor first half of the season.
Chelsea, who finished third in the league last season, are 10th in the standings after securing just one win in their last seven league games. They face second-placed Manchester City later on Thursday.