Reece James has sent an emotional message to Mason Mount following confirmation of his transfer to Manchester United.
Mount has signed a contract until 2028 with the option of a further year after an initial fee of £55million was agreed for the 24-year-old England midfielder.
Mount – who came through the ranks at Chelsea and made 129 Premier League appearances for them, scoring 27 goals and providing 22 assists – said in a statement from United: ‘It’s never easy leaving the club where you grew up, but Manchester United will provide an exciting new challenge for the next phase of my career.
‘Having competed against them, I know just how strong a squad it is that I’m joining, and I can’t wait to be part of this group’s drive to win major trophies.’
Mount, a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2021, added: ‘Everyone can see that the club has made big steps forward under (United boss) Erik ten Hag.
‘Having met with the manager and discussed his plans, I couldn’t be more excited for the seasons ahead, and am ready for the hard work expected here.
‘I am hugely ambitious; I know how amazing it feels to win major trophies and what it takes to do it. I will be giving everything to experience that again at Manchester United.’
Welcome to your new home, Mason.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 5, 2023
While opinion among Chelsea fans has been divided over Mount’s motives for swapping Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford, his now former teammates have been unanimous in their disappointment, none more so than Reece James.
The two academy graduates grew up together in Chelsea’s youth ranks but will now be competing for major honours against one another.
‘Ma brother man,’ James wrote on Instagram. ‘Where do I start. I’ve know you since 6 years old, we grew together and took similar paths in breaking into the first team. Something that seemed virtually impossible.
‘I’m proud to say I done it along side you. I’ve seen you as a little boy and watched you grow into the man and player you are today, you’ve done yourself and your family proud.
‘We’ve had some of the best days of our career together that’ll stick with me forever.
‘It’s sad to say goodbye. I wish you nothing but happiness, good health and the best of luck on your new adventure! You’ll always be blue at heart!