Bristol City have strengthened their squad ahead of Saturday's Championship curtain-raiser by securing the services of Chelsea academy striker Tammy Abraham. The towering England U19 international has signed a season-long loan deal at Ashton Gate and is eligible to make his debut tomorrow (6 August) as Lee Johnson's side open the 2016/17 campaign at home to newly-promoted Wigan Athletic.
Abraham has been at Chelsea ever since joining their U8 ranks and boasts a truly prolific scoring record in their youth set-up. The 18-year-old was part of the formidable young side that successfully retained their Uefa Youth League title last term in addition to lifting the FA Youth Cup for the third year in succession.
He scored the second goal in a decisive 3-1 second-leg final victory over Manchester City in April before making his first-team bow with substitute appearances against Liverpool and Leicester City.
"I just want to do what I've been doing for Chelsea while I'm here – scoring goals and creating chances," Abraham told Bristol City Player after sealing the first loan switch of his fledgling career. "I know it will be harder to do that (in the Championship) because it's a new challenge and not something I'm used to, but I'll have to adapt and do my best for Bristol City. I class myself as a goalscorer. I'm an exciting player on the ball, so expect a lot of chances and hopefully more goals."
Abraham joins a City team that looked destined for an immediate return to League One following an awful start to last season under Steve Cotterill but eventually secured a respectable 18th-place finish after coaxing former Robins midfielder Lee Johnson from Barnsley. A top-half berth should be the ambition this time around, although the manager recently made headlines by declaring that he believes the West Country club can be playing European football within five years.
Reacting to the signing of Abraham, who has been given the number nine shirt, Johnson said: "Tammy is a top-class player who I believe has a very bright future in the game. We're delighted that all of the club's hard work has paid off. He's one we've been chasing for a long time and we've remained patient to get this deal over the line in time for the new season.
"We're very grateful to Chelsea and Antonio Conte for allowing one of England's bright young talents to join us and we're now able to give him the chance to showcase himself in the Championship."