Southampton's Oriol Romeu has admitted to AS that he was not expecting to leave Chelsea over the summer.
The Spaniard was snapped up by Ronald Koeman for £5 million in August - as reported by the BBC - despite signing a new Blues contract just a year earlier, and has quickly become an important part of the Dutchman’s midfield.
However, Romeu’s time at Stamford Bridge was less eventful following a switch from Barcelona in 2011.
The 24-year-old was immediately handed a chance in the Chelsea XI by Andre Villas-Boas before finding himself sidelined under both Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, while a cruciate ligament injury only made matters worse.
Romeu was subsequently sent on loan to Valencia by Jose Mourinho for the 2013-14 season before spending the last campaign with Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart.
Some Chelsea fans were expecting to see the anchorman form part of the Special One’s plans for his title defence, and none were more surprised than Romeu himself when told he could leave for St Mary’s.
Speaking to AS, Romeu explained: “It was the club who told me I could go.
“I did not expect it, although I came from a long injury and that always had an influence. With Villas-Boas, I believe my best time [was] there but then came Di Matteo and when Benitez arrived I broke my cruciate ligament.
“Due to the circumstances they had been sending me on loan in recent years. What I need now is to play. Then the Southampton chance arrived, which allows me to continue in the Premier League and in a good team.
“We are doing things right [at Southampton]. Good new additions came in the summer and Koeman has continued the positive dynamics of [Mauricio] Pochettino. I signed with the idea of having playing time and reaching targets. I’m happy and eager to have continuity.”