Charlton Athletic FC have agreed to sell Scott Parker to London rivals Chelsea FC, just over a week after turning down a second and "final" €11m offer for the England midfield player.
Chelsea have paid €14.6m for Parker, who has signed a four-and-a-half year contract. "Chelsea is a big club and for a young player like me it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. They are one of the biggest clubs in the country, they've got big plans and ambitions and a squad of first-class players."
The 24-year-old had been unsettled by recent moves by Chelsea to acquire him, manager Alan Curbishley going as far as leaving the home-grown star out of the side for the 17 January victory at Everton FC. A Charlton statement yesterday said that Parker had made it "abundantly clear" that he wished to leave for Chelsea, who last week made "unacceptable offers for the best young midfield player in the country".
Parker made his Charlton debut against Bury FC in August 1997 and has been a regular for the past three seasons. He was particularly impressive in 2002/03, when he has nominated for the PFA Young Footballer of the Year award. Parker was also called up by England for the defeat by Australia in February but had to wait nine months for his first international appearance, replacing Wayne Rooney in the November friendly loss to Denmark.
Charlton are fourth in the Premiership, nine points behind Chelsea who are third. As he has not played in Europe this season, Parker could play in his new club's UEFA Champions League knockout tie against VfB Stuttgart. As part of the deal, Chelsea striker Carlton Cole's loan period at Charlton has been extended until summer 2005.
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