Raheem Sterling has completed his sensational move from Manchester City to Chelsea, with Todd Boehly finally landing his first major signing since taking over the club from Roman Abramovich.
The 27-year-old England star has swapped the Etihad Stadium for Stamford Bridge in a move believed to worth £50million.
Sterling has signed a five-year contract worth significantly more than the £300,000 a week he was paid by City. There is the option for an extension of a further season on a deal that takes him into the Premier League’s top three earners.
He becomes the first signing of the Boehly era and will be followed by Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly after Chelsea agreed a £34m move for the centre back on Wednesday. He will undergo a medical in Los Angeles on Thursday.
‘First and foremost, it’s a pleasure to be here,’ Sterling said.
‘I’ve obviously achieved a lot in my career so far, but there is still so much more to achieve and I’m really looking forward to doing that in a Chelsea shirt, under Thomas’s management.
‘London is my home and where it all started for me, and it’s amazing I now have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family week in, week out at Stamford Bridge. I’m really looking forward to meeting the fans there soon.
‘I do want to take the opportunity to thank Todd, Behdad, the ownership group, Thomas, and all involved in the process of getting me here.
‘I can’t wait to get going now and continue to do my talking on the pitch.’
Joyous new co-owner Boehly added: ‘Raheem Sterling is a serial winner and his signing is an important step in strengthening our squad.
‘We are delighted for Raheem to return to London with Chelsea, and we look forward to seeing his world-class talent on display at Stamford Bridge.’
Sterling had penned an emotional letter to City and their fans, in which he confirmed his exit earlier today.
‘I arrived in Manchester a 20-year-old. Today, I leave as a man’, he wrote.
The forward jetted out to Los Angeles on Tuesday to link up with his soon-to-be new Chelsea team-mates ahead of official confirmation of his move from City.
Sterling could make his Chelsea debut in Charlotte next Thursday or against Arsenal in the Florida Cup final the following Saturday.
It is thought to be unlikely that the forward will be available for Chelsea’s pre-season friendly with Club America this Sunday, though.
In Sterling’s emotional letter to City, he said: ‘Seven seasons. Eleven major trophies. A lifetime of memories.
‘To the coaching staff who have played a massive role in my development over the years, to my team-mates who have become more than just those I share a pitch with, to the backroom staff, to the office staff, to the fans who have tirelessly supported the team, and to everyone associated with Manchester City, my respect for you couldn’t be greater.
‘What a ride it’s been.
‘I am thankful for the ups and downs, as it’s the downs that have, at times, have tested my strength and resolve, and enabled me to stand here in front of you as the best possible version of myself.
‘I arrived in Manchester a 20-year-old. Today, I leave as a man.
‘Thank you for your endless support. It’s been an honour to wear the shirt of Manchester City.’
Sterling is the Blues’ first signing since Boehly completed his protracted takeover of the club in May, in the wake of UK government sanctions against previous owner Abramovich after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea flew out for their USA pre-season tour on Saturday and were keen to have the forward available to travel with them.
Sterling’s resolve to make the move was hardened by a discussion with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel, who told him how he would be used at Stamford Bridge.
In his last year of his contract at City, it is thought that Sterling is keen to remain a key part in any squad.
Sterling’s desire to leave City was driven by a demand for more game time in the biggest fixtures, something City manager Pep Guardiola could not guarantee, but the relationship is ending amicably.
It is believed that City formally discussed Sterling’s desire to bring an end to a stellar seven-year stay at the Etihad Stadium at the beginning of the June during a conversation led by the England international.
The Premier League champions afforded the forward time to determine his next steps and Sterling has appreciated the space to assess his options and is thankful for the transparency that both parties have committed to.