Chelsea defender Ola Aina has embarked upon his maiden foray away from Stamford Bridge. The promising right-back will spend the 2017-18 campaign in the Championship with recently relegated Hull City on a season-long deal that was officially confirmed by both clubs on Tuesday morning (11 July) after talks progressed well over the last few days.
Aina is the first signing made by new Tigers boss Leonid Slutsky, who was appointed to the role last month following Marco Silva's decision to join Watford. He is the 13th player to depart Chelsea so far this summer and the seventh to head out on loan, following in the footsteps of Danilo Pantic, Todd Kane, Kasey Palmer, Fankaty Dabo, Nathan Baxter and Tammy Abraham.
John Terry was released at the end of his contract, while Dominic Solanke left for Liverpool and Nathan Ake, Juan Cuadrado, Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore and Christian Atsu were all offloaded on permanent deals. Antonio Conte has bolstered his title-winning squad with the additions of Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero.
Aina will now join up with his new teammates in Portugal, where Hull have embarked upon a 12-day training camp that includes friendly fixtures against Oxford United, Bristol Rovers and Benfica. They then face FC Nantes and Ajax on home territory before opening the new season at Aston Villa on 5 August.
"I'm very excited to be here and it is the start of a new chapter in my career," the 20-year-old told Hull's official website. "It's my first loan move away from Chelsea and I just want to hit the ground running. I'm looking forward to getting to know all of my new team-mates during the training camp in Portugal."
It seems unlikely that Aina will be the only player to temporarily swap Chelsea for Hull during the current transfer window, with former Russia and CSKA Moscow boss Slutsky known to harbour a good relationship with Blues owner Roman Abramovich. The Evening Standard reported in June that he would hope to use that positive rapport to sign some of the Premier League champions' best young players.
Hull are not the only club set to raid Chelsea this week, with the BBC reporting that Frank de Boer's Crystal Palace are set to seal the signing of Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Lewis Baker also seems primed for another loan deal, while Watford are said to be in pole position to secure the return of Nathaniel Chalobah.
Wantaway striker Diego Costa has been extra time off and did not report back for the first day of pre-season training on Monday after being informed that he does not feature in Conte's plans for next term.