Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Transfer confirmed: Chelsea reach agreement with Bayer Leverkusen over forward Andre Schurrle in £18m deal

The German has been a long-term target for the west London club

André Schürrle is set to become Jose Mourinho’s first signing since returning to Chelsea after an £18m deal with Bayer Leverkusen was agreed. The 22-year-old Germany forward has been a long-term target for the Blues and will now discuss personal terms and undergo a medical before completing the move.

The Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has not been included as part of the deal, despite reports suggesting the Belgian would be heading in the opposite direction.

Mourinho was confirmed as the new Chelsea manager on 3 June but Leverkusen revealed that the Stamford Bridge club had expressed an interest in Schurrle before the former Real Madrid manager’s appointment. Schurrle scored 11 goals in 34 league games in 2012-13 for Leverkusen, who finished in the third and final automatic Champions League qualifying place in the Bundesliga.

Schurrle, who is comfortable playing on the wing or in a central striking  role, has also impressed for Germany – scoring seven goals in 24 appearances – and was included in their Euro 2012 squad.

Mourinho, who agreed a four-year deal to return to Stamford Bridge following his departure from  Real Madrid, admitted it was “normal” to expect some fresh faces to be added to the squad.

Chelsea have been heavily linked with Napoli’s £30m-rated frontman Edinson Cavani, who is said to also be on the radars of Manchester City and Madrid, as well as Wayne Rooney, should the England striker be sold by Manchester United.

However, the new Chelsea manager, who won the Champions League for a second time with Internazionale after leaving Stamford Bridge six years ago, maintained that he was also looking to bring on the club’s younger players in the new campaign.

And the likes of 21-year-old Belgium international De Bruyne – along with striker Romelu Lukaku, who is 20 – are likely to be given an opportunity to prove themselves in the new regime next season. Speaking earlier this week, Mourinho said: “These ‘kids’ – and I say that respectfully – have big potential and big space for improvement. They have not reached their best level.

“The stability the owner and I can give them is related to work – in the methods, the coaching philosophy, in my leadership, in everything that can help them improve.”