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Chelsea's Romeu headed back to Spain?

Chelsea youngster Oriol Romeu looks set to make a return to Spain, according to reports – possibly as early as the January transfer window.

Both La Liga sides Espanyol and Valencia have expressed their interest in signing the 21-year-old who has yet to force his way in to regular first-team football at the European champions.

He was signed just over a year ago from Spanish giants Barcelona and is hailed as a future star for the national side, for whom he’s made 39 appearances at youth and junior level.

Brought in by former Blues boss and current Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas, the youngster was intended to play as either a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder but have failed to really make a breakthrough since the departure of his former coach.

He’s made just 2 league appearances so far this term for Chelsea and is understood to be suffering a bout of homesickness – he had been linked with a potential loan move to Championship side Bolton Wanderers but reports now suggest he is uninterested in being loaned out and would prefer to move back to his previous club Barcelona.

However the Catalan giants are much less than enthused by the prospect of buying him back, despite including a clause in the original deal that specified a first option for Barcelona to buy him back if Chelsea should find him surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

The deal was negotiated so that Barcelona could buy him back in 2012 for €10 million or in 2013 for €15 million.

The youngster also has a few others Spanish sides chasing his signature in January – most notably from Valencia and Espanyol – the latter being his boyhood club where he first trained in their youth academy as a ten-year-old boy.

Whilst the player has his heart set on a return to Barca, a deal would have to be negotiated mightily quickly if the Catalans were to shave €5 million off the price and his agent is keen for talks, which are understood to have already commenced, to continue rapidly with Valencia, who are the favourites to land the youngster.

image: © WSHJackson

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