Birmingham City have won the race to snap up highly rated centre-back, Jake Clarke-Salter from Chelsea in a season-long loan deal.
The Blues youngster did not join up with the rest of Frank Lampard’s squad on their pre-season tours of Ireland and Japan, after he completed another campaign out on loan in Holland with Vitesse.
Other Championship clubs including Leeds United and Swansea City were also reportedly keen on securing the 21-year-old’s services, but a move to St Andrews was confirmed this morning.
Having joined Chelsea at the tender age of nine, Clarke-Salter surged through as another graduate of the Blues successful academy project.
Rising through the youth sides he was instrumental in the UEFA Youth League and Youth Cup victories in 2015 - a year later he'd retained both trophies with the U19s, despite featuring heavily for the U21s.
After impressing throughout the ranks, his senior debut came during a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in 2016. His only other minutes with the first team came a year later against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.
Antonio Conte also brought the defender on Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, starting against both Arsenal and Inter Milan.
Life on loan
Clarke-Salters life away from Stamford Bridge hasn't quite lived up to the expectations that hung on the young man’s shoulders.
The first of his loan sage began at Bristol Rovers in League One, where he made just 13 appearances due to injury problems with the Gas.
Before Birmingham, he'd experienced the challenges of the Championship with Sunderland in 2018. Again, 13 games were the extent of his playing time and this certainly started a phase of misfortune for the Black Cats, as they were later relegated to the third division as Clarke-Salter received consecutive red cards in February and March.
His most joyous move came from abroad with Vitesse, similar to current Blue Mason Mount, as Clarke-Salter featured on 28 occasions in the Eredivisie, guiding them to fifth.
Why the switch of blue?
Lampard had been landed with several viable options at the heart of his defence, the likes of David Luiz, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma all higher in the pecking order.
This isn't to say Clarke-Salter's future at Chelsea has ended, as Lampard is known for promoting youth and he simply wants to give experiences to those not quite accustomed to the Premier League.
Clarke-Salter has already been tested at an elite level, most noticeable with the national team. He won major silverware with England at the 2018 Toulon Tournament with the U21s and earned the greatest honour of them all as the U20s lifted the 2017 FIFA World Cup.