Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu said he did not expect Chelsea to release him during the summer transfer window but he is enjoying the chance to prove himself in the Premier League with the Saints. The 24-year-old midfielder moved to Stamford Bridge for £3.5m ($5.3m) in the summer of 2011 from Barcelona after catching the eyes of then manager Andre Villas-Boas.
The early departure of the Portuguese boss, however, hampered him settling in at the West London club. Roberto Di Matteo then overlooked him during his reign at the club. When the Spaniard finally did start to show glimpses of his La Masia talent under Rafa Benitez a long-term injury to his knee scuppered his chances of settling in to the Premier League life.
Jose Mourinho loaned him to Valencia during his first season at Chelsea and last campaign sent him again to Stuttgart to secure more playing time with both Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel ahead of him in the midfield pecking order at the time.
Speaking to IBTimes UK earlier in the summer, Romeu was hopeful of finally having the chance to prove his worth at the Blues. The club, nevertheless, offered him a three-year contract just in the summer of 2014 because Mourinho had assured him he would have a future at the club.
But the Portuguese boss then opted to cash-in on him with a move to Southampton to make space for young Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the first team.
Romeu, during an interview with AS, has claimed that he didn't expect that decision but managed to move on and is now trying to establish himself in Ronald Koeman's squad.
Asked whether Mourinho said anything to him, he replied: "It was the club who told me I could go.
"I did not expect it, although I came from a long injury and that always had an influence. With Villas-Boas, I believe my best time there but then came Di Matteo and when Benítez arrived I broke my cruciate ligament.
"Due to the circumstances they had been sending me on loan in recent years. What I need now is to play. Then the Southampton chance arrived, which allows me to continue in the Premier and in a good team.
"We are doing things right (at Southampton). New good additions came in the summer and Koeman has continued the positive dynamics of (Mauricio) Pochettino. I signed with the idea of having playing time and reaching targets. I'm happy and eager to have continuity."