By Andrew Maddox

21st Jul, 2022 | 8:10pm

Chelsea complete deal to sign Brighton starlet Zak Sturge – Fabrizio Romano

Chelsea are close to announcing a deal for 18-year-old defender Zak Sturge from Brighton, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The England Under-18 international left The Seagulls at the end of last season, alerting some of England’s biggest clubs to his situation.

Now it appears that Chelsea have won that race, with transfer expert Romano reporting that a deal has been completed for the rising star via his Twitter page on Thursday evening (21 July).

As with all youth transfers, Chelsea will still have to pay Brighton a compensation fee for the young star, with the Daily Mail reporting the figure to be at least £500,000.

It is expected that Sturge will slot straight into Chelsea’s Under-23 team once his move to The Blues has been confirmed.

Sturge profiled

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During his time at Brighton, Sturge showed himself to be a versatile, attack-minded player in the style of most modern full-backs.

He contributed three assists across his 18 appearances for the Seagulls’ U18 team last season, two of which came in Brighton’s run to the sixth round of the FA Youth Cup.

Sturge made his U23 bow in their final match of last season, coming on as a late substitute during their goalless draw away to Tottenham.

He made his England Under-18 debut in 2021 and has so far made six appearances, registering one assist during that time.

June saw him participate in the Young Lions’ victorious Four Nations campaign, coming on as a substitute against Austria and starting their victory over Wales.

Some of England’s biggest clubs were chasing his signature once he left Brighton, with Spurs and Leeds United rumoured to be targeting a move for the young star.

He will join the likes of Omari Hutchinson and Eddie Beach in signing for Chelsea this summer as The Blues continue to invest heavily in their academy.

In other Chelsea news, Billy Gilmour is set for showdown talks with Thomas Tuchel over his future.