Maresca's Chelsea revolution will begin with former Man City defender signing

Enzo Maresca
Enzo Maresca / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Chelsea are on the brink of finalising a deal for Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, making him the first signing of the Enzo Maresca era at Stamford Bridge as reported by Fabrizio Romano.

The 26-year-old centre-back, whose contract at Craven Cottage expires at the end of June, will join the Blues on a free transfer, despite strong interest from Newcastle United.

Adarabioyo's arrival coincides with the departure of veteran defender Thiago Silva, who played his final game for Chelsea on the last day of the season against Bournemouth. After four successful years with the club, the Brazilian has returned to his homeland to finish his career, leaving a void in the squad that Adarabioyo is expected to fill.

The signing of Adarabioyo will be a shrewd piece of business for Chelsea, as they look to bolster their defensive options without breaking the bank. The former Manchester City academy graduate brings valuable Premier League experience to the table, having made 78 appearances for Fulham in the top flight, as well as Championship experience with Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion.

Tosin Adarabioyo
Tosin Adarabioyo / David Rogers/GettyImages

Under Maresca, Chelsea will have a strong core of centre-backs, including Benoit Badiashile, Levi Colwill, Wesley Fofana, and Axel Disasi. However, with Fofana, Badiashile, and Colwill all struggling with injuries throughout the previous season, Adarabioyo's signing provides much-needed depth and reliability to the Blues' backline.

Despite the impressive form of Trevoh Chalobah, Chelsea have deemed the academy graduate an attractive option to sell due to the financial benefits of offloading homegrown players. However, Adarabioyo's arrival is not expected to directly impact Chalobah's future at the club, with Manchester United emerging as a potential suitor for the versatile defender.

Adarabioyo's ties to Manchester City, where he developed alongside current Chelsea players Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia, and his brief overlap with Maresca during their time at the City academy, make him an attractive prospect for the Blues.

Chelsea's recruitment chief, Joe Shields, has a track record of delivering players he has worked with in the past and also has links to Maresca from their time together in the City academy, which may have played a role in the pursuit of Adarabioyo.

As Maresca prepares to take the reins at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's lawyers are working to finalise the paperwork for the Italian and his backroom staff. The club will pay Leicester City around £10m in compensation for the 44-year-old, who has been chosen to replace Mauricio Pochettino.

One of the early challenges Maresca may face is Chelsea's desire to sell homegrown players to avoid issues with profitability and sustainability regulations. Conor Gallagher, the England midfielder, has attracted interest from Aston Villa and Tottenham, while Chalobah could bring in around £25m.

With his Premier League experience and potential to thrive in Maresca's possession-based system, the former Manchester City academy graduate could prove to be a valuable addition to the Blues' defensive line-up.