Chelsea 'close' to first January signing, but fans will have to wait seven months to see him play: report

 Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea FC at Old Trafford on December 06, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chelsea are closing in on their first signing of the January transfer window, but supporters will have to wait until June 2024 to get a glimpse of their new star.

After beating Newcastle United on Tuesday night in the League Cup, Chelsea booked their place in the semi-finals of the tournament. Off the pitch, though, the hierarchy have been busy negotiating deals and putting together transfers. 

And according to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are close to completing their first deal of the January transfer window before it's even opened.

Mykhailo Mudryk of Chelsea celebrates scoring their equilizer with Christopher Nkunku of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on December 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea beat Newcastle in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday (Image credit: Getty Images)

 Romano revealed that Senegal U17 midfielder Pape Daouda Diong is due to sign for the Blues from AF Darou Salam, after being pictured at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday alongside incoming Chelsea star Kendry Paez.

Still only 17, Diong won't be allowed to sign for Chelsea until his 18th birthday, however, due to FIFA regulations on transfers only allowing players over the age of 18 to move between clubs internationally. 

That means the Senegalese midfielder will have to wait until June 2024 until he officially becomes a Chelsea player, where he'll then compete with the likes of Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia and Paez in the first team. Mauricio Pochettino might request that Diong gets more experience at another level elsewhere in Europe, though, before making the step up. 

Chelsea have made their first signing Pape Diong from Senegal

Diong will become the first Chelsea signing of the window (Image credit: Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

A defensive midfielder who loves winning the ball back and passing short, Diong helped Senegal U17s reach the last 16 of the U17 World Cup earlier this year, after finishing above Japan and Poland in the group stages. Senegal lost on penalties to France in the last 16, though.

He's made four appearances in total for the national team youth side, and will now start preparing for his Chelsea move in seven months time. 

More Chelsea stories 

Every player the Blues have signed since Todd Boehly became owner

Are Chelsea facing a point deduction? Why fans should be worried

Jules Breach on why Mauricio Pochettino needs time and trust

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