Chelsea have reached a deal to sign the Exeter City defender Ethan Ampadu, with the Premier League champions in negotiations over agreeing compensation with the League Two club for the highly-rated 16-year-old.
Ampadu made 13 appearances for Exeter’s first team last season and became the club’s youngest player after making his debut aged 15 years, 10 months and 26 days against Brentford last August.
The son of the former West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City midfielder Kwame had also attracted interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, where his father is the under-18s manager.
Exeter had offered Ampadu, a product of their academy, a scholarship contract but he elected to talk to other interested clubs. Chelsea are now in negotiations with the League Two club over compensation, as he is under the age of 24. In a statement released on Saturday, Exeter said they hoped they could agree a fee without the need of going to a tribunal.
Ampadu, capped to under-19 level by Wales, was named in Chris Coleman’s training squad for the senior team’s World Cup qualifier in Serbia last month. Exeter manager Paul Tisdale revealed at the time that the youngster was only able to join up with the squad because it was half-term.
“Everyone at Exeter City fully supports Ethan’s decision to sign for Chelsea,” said Tisdale. “He had many options available to him and has decided that Chelsea provides him with the best opportunity to develop the next step of his career. We wish him the very best of luck.
“Ethan has shown real maturity and professionalism throughout last season, balancing his school work with his training at Exeter City. At the same time, he has represented Wales at different age groups. We thank him for his contribution on the pitch and feel very proud of what he has become. Our academy should again be mentioned for the excellent work it does in not only nurturing talented footballers, but also well-rounded individuals.
“Ethan is another in a long line of home grown players to graduate through our academy into our first team. At Exeter City we will continue to support our youth system by encouraging and promoting our young players into competitive senior football when they are ready.”
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