Villarreal have agreed a deal for Chilean starlet Matias Fernandez who has been attracting the interest of Chelsea.
The 20-year-old, who is already a full Chile international, currently plies his trade for Colo Colo and is widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in South American football.
His quality and potential had alerted Chelsea whose South American scout Jorge Alvial admitted at the weekend that The Blues were monitoring his progress.
However, they have been beaten to the punch by Villarreal who nipped in to conclude a speedy é¼7 million (£ 4.5 million) deal for the youngster.
"It was a very quick signing because we are convinced that he is a great player and we thought it was the right time to close the deal," Villarreal president Fernando Roig told the club's official website.
Press reports in Chile claim news of the transfer was broken to the player himself, and his team-mates, by Colo Colo president Raimundo Valenzuela at a training session on Tuesday.
The midfielder is now scheduled to join the Spanish outfit when the European transfer window reopens in January, meaning he will be able to finish the current Chilean Torneo Apertura and Copa Sudamericana.
Villarreal have been chasing the player for some time and attempted to sign him back in the summer after Robert Pires was struck down by a serious knee injury.
The switch failed to materialise before the transfer window shut at the end of August, but - following the recent media attention on Fernandez - they have moved to secure his services for the second half of the season.