Chelsea announce permanent January deal as long-serving midfielder departs

Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker has joined Championship outfit Stoke City on a permanent deal, it has been announced.

The Cobham Academy graduate has brought to an end his 17-year association with the Blues and signs a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Potters.

Since breaking through at the club, Baker has gone on to complete a succession of loan spells including stints in the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey.

He has taken in spells in England with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Milton Keynes Dons, Reading, Middlesbrough and Leeds United, whilst also having represented Vitesse Arnheim, Fortuna Dusseldorf and most recently Trabzonspor.

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The midfielder was surprisingly kept at Stamford Bridge for the first half of the campaign and went on to make only his second ever Chelsea appearance in the Blues’ recent victory over Chesterfield in the FA Cup, having first appeared for the club during the 2013/14 campaign.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign though, Chelsea have decided to let him leave and link up with Stoke.

Speaking after the deal was confirmed, Potters’ boss Michael O’Neill revealed why his side have chosen to take a chance on the 26-year-old.

Talking to Stoke’s official website, he said: “From speaking to Lewis it’s clear that he is ready to lay down roots at a club and kick on with his career.

“He’s a very talented midfielder who will bring a different dimension to our squad and we are delighted to have him on board with us.”

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