Atalanta have today exercised their option to sign Mario Pasalic on a permanent deal.

The midfielder is currently spending his second year on loan at the Italian side and will now join them permanently ahead of next season. Prior to lockdown, Atalanta booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a convincing 8-4 aggregate win over Valencia. They sit fourth in Serie A with 12 games remaining.

Last season, Pasalic played a major role as Atalanta come third, their highest league finish ever. They were also runners-up in the Coppa Italia. Pasalic has so far played 75 times for the Bergamo-based team, scoring 15 goals.

The 25-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge in 2014 from Hajduk Split in his native Croatia. A regular at youth international level, he has represented the Croatian senior side 12 times, most recently in a friendly victory over Georgia back in November. He was in the initial squad for Croatia for both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, but was cut when the final group was whittled down to 23.

After signing for Chelsea, Pasalic’s first loan was to Elche in Spain. He played over 30 times in La Liga as they finished in an impressive 13th position.

Pasalic subsequently spent seasons on loan at Monaco, AC Milan and Spartak Moscow, accruing experience from around the continent. He tasted European football for the first time at Monaco, while at AC Milan it was Pasalic who scored the winning penalty in their Super Cup victory over Juventus in Doha in 2016.

We thank Mario for his service to the club and wish him the best of luck for the next chapter of his career.