ujuan Richards has hailed a “dream come true” after appearing to agree terms on a move to Chelsea.
On Saturday night, the Phoenix All Stars Football Academy in Kingston confirmed on social media that the highly-rated young Jamaican striker had opted for Stamford Bridge over several rival offers, with pictures and videos of him signing a pre-contract agreement.
Though yet to be confirmed by Chelsea, transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano later reported that Richards – known as ‘Whisper’ – had indeed signed for the club but would join officially when he turns 18 in November.
He added that Newcastle had been close to signing Richards following a successful trial period on Tyneside, only for Chelsea to then hijack the deal late with new co-director of recruitment and talent Joe Shields said to have played a crucial role in negotiations.
Romano added that the Blues have now turned their attentions to signing teenage Ecuadorian midfielder Kendry Paez from Independiente Del Valle – the club from whom Brighton signed midfielder Moises Caicedo in 2021 – in the next stage of their youth recruitment drive.
It was a whirlwind weekend for Richards, who after signing for Chelsea went on to make his senior Jamaica debut aged just 17 in the 1-0 friendly defeat by Trinidad and Tobago in Montego Bay on Saturday night – a match that also featured Chelsea’s Omari Hutchinson.
After that major early milestone, the young striker – who also previously spent time at Brooke House College in Leicestershire – could not hide his delight at his impending move to the Premier League.
“What a dream come true,” Richards wrote on social media. “When I am 18 years old I will be able to play in the Premier League and for a club like Chelsea. Champions League winners and with such a high pedigree that I’m still so grateful to God for this opportunity to challenge other great talents on the colosseum of football.
“I would like to thank my coach and manager Craig Butler first for seeing the potential in me and then working on my weaknesses and building me to the level I am now. His guidance and perseverance has resulted in my getting this opportunity and signing this contract. I shudder to think what could have happened if I listened to others and not to Craig Butler.
“I am also grateful to the Phoenix all stars football academy for its investment in all the youths. Providing a place where even if you can’t pay no one is left behind. I’m a product of that type of support. My mother and family. What can I say you have been a rock and a fortress to me always seeking what is best for me and sacrificing yourself for me. Mom I love you and I am going to make you proud.”