Chelsea have signed Spanish defender Marc Cucurella from Brighton & Hove Albion on a six-year contract, both Premier League clubs said on Friday.
Financial details were not disclosed but Brighton said the club would receive a record fee for the transfer. British media reported the two clubs agreed a deal worth up to 63 million pounds ($76.5 million) for the 24-year-old.
Chelsea will reportedly pay 56 million pounds up front for Cucurella, surpassing Brighton’s previous record sale of 50 million pounds when centre back Ben White moved to Arsenal last year.
“I’m really happy. It’s a big opportunity for me to join one of the best clubs in the world, and I’m going to work hard to be happy here and help the team,” Cucurella told Chelsea’s website.
Cucurella, who has one cap for Spain, joined Brighton in 2021 from LaLiga side Getafe. He made 35 league appearances for Graham Potter’s side as they finished ninth in the league last season.
“We did not want to lose Marc, but he wanted the opportunity of playing Champions League football with a view to accelerating his progress to Spain’s World Cup squad,” Potter told Brighton’s website.
“Of course we are disappointed to see Marc leave, but we wish him well for the future… (He) has been an absolute pleasure to work with over the past 12 months.”
Cucurella is the second big-money departure from the south coast club in the current transfer window after midfielder Yves Bissouma joined Tottenham Hotspur for a reported fee of 25 million pounds.
Separately, Brighton signed 19-year-old Chelsea defender Levi Colwill on a season-long loan on Friday.
Chelsea lost defenders Andreas Christensen to Barcelona and Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid in the close season before captain Cesar Azpilicueta signed a two-year contract extension, with Cucurella’s arrival further bolstering their defence.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have so far brought in England forward Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and teenage midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa.
They have also completed a move for teenage goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina but the American will remain on loan at MLS side Chicago Fire for the 2022-23 season.
Chelsea, who finished third in the league last season, begin their new campaign with a trip to Everton on Saturday, while Brighton will travel to Manchester United on Sunday.