There is nobody better suited to outline what Djordje Petrovic will bring to Chelsea than Kevin Hitchcock. Not only did he enjoy a 13-year career at Stamford Bridge, but he has spent the past 14 months working with our latest summer signing.

Petrovic completed his switch to Stamford Bridge today. The goalkeeper has signed a seven-year contract and will begin working with Mauricio Pochettino's squad in the coming days.

It is the latest step on what has been an impressive career thus far. One that started in Petrovic's native Serbia before he moved to MLS in April 2022 and joined New England Revolution.

Hitchcock played a key role in Petrovic moving to New England. It was the goalkeeper coach that decided the Serbia international was best suited to replace Matt Turner, who had agreed to join Arsenal ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

‘I saw natural ability,’ Hitchcock reflects. ‘I saw he had this amazing plyometric jump, that was a big thing for me. That is what I like to work with – it was the same with Matt Turner.

‘I saw the things I wanted to develop in a goalkeeper and so we brought Djordje in. He had a bit of time to find his feet in America, settle into the club. Then he came into the team and did well. From there, it snowballed.’

Petrovic made 21 appearances during the 2022 season for New England. His performances resulted in nominations for the MLS Newcomer of the Year Award and the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award.

Such an impact didn't surprise Hitchcock. 'Everything on the training ground we worked on, Djordje was producing in his performances,' he explains.

‘As a person, he is such a great lad. Everybody liked him. He is very easy to work with, doesn’t have any issues, always has a smile on his face, and he wants to be the very best goalkeeper he can be.

'His performances every week were outstanding and he got better and better. From there, his confidence grew and we continued to work hard with him.'

Petrovic entered the 2023 campaign as New England's undisputed No.1 goalkeeper. He was also selected for the MLS All-Star game, which saw our new stopper come up against Premier League opposition in Arsenal in Washington D.C.

That game provided a taste of what is to come for Petrovic in English football – and Hitchcock has no doubts about the 23-year-old stepping up to the challenge of representing Chelsea.

‘It is a challenge he will be ready for,' says Hitchcock. 'He will settle quickly. There may be a few nerves at the beginning and that’s to be expected. But once he gets his feet under the table, he won’t look back.

‘He will go to England ready-made. He can speak well, is good at communicating and organising players in the penalty area so they know what he wants.'

There is a chuckle from the 60-year-old. 'His English is good – and I’ve taught him all the cockney stuff as well!'

Hitchcock's time at Chelsea lasted between 1988 and 2001. He made more than 130 appearances for the club and was part of squads that won both domestic and European honours.

That Petrovic will now follow in his footsteps at Stamford Bridge is an understandable source of pride.

‘He knows my background and knows Chelsea is a big love of my life,' Hitchcock says. 'I spent 13 years at the club as a player and they are, as a player, probably the greatest 13 years of my life.

'So for him to go to my club, it is absolutely fantastic. He has all the tools to deal with everything that will come at him. I guarantee the Matthew Harding will love him.’