BREAKING NEWS: Striker Kevin Krans chooses Bristol City ahead of Premier League Chelsea
Chelsea target Kevin Krans has pledged his future to Championship strugglers Bristol City by signing a new 18-month contract.
Despite a recent approach from the European champions, the French-born striker has decided his career will be best-served by remaining at Ashton Gate.
And City have also moved to retain another highly-rated member of their Under-21 development squad, offering midfielder Luke Dobie a deal until the end of next season.
As revealed in The Post last month, Krans has been scouted by Chelsea and the London club have made contact with the former Fulham forward’s agent.
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But the Robins have moved quickly to secure the services of a player who has impressed in the Under-21 and reserve teams since being brought to Ashton Gate by former manager Derek McInnes last summer.
Although Krans has not come through City’s Academy, he is under 24 years of age and any Premier League club wanting to sign him will have to pay compensation.
A marauding midfielder, former Everton and Middlesbrough trainee Dobie has also caught the eye of City Academy boss Willie McStay since joining the club last year.
Confirming Chelsea’s interest, Krans said: "They phoned my agent and made an enquiry but I know my development.
"I'm very happy at Bristol City, hence signing the contract, and I'll continue to work hard, score goals and impress the coaches here first and foremost."
Krans,20, now hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Under-21 players Joe Bryan, Bobby Reid and Wes Burns, who have all broken into the first team squad this season.
He added: "I'm learning every day. So much has improved in my game over the past six months; my movement and understanding of the game.
"There are always things you can improve on but I'm delighted to be given the chance to extend my contract, giving me more time to impress the gaffer.
"I look at the likes of Joe Bryan, Bobby Reid and Wes Burns getting chances at first team level and it certainly gives me hope."
Head of Academy coaching McStay said: "We’re delighted to have extended the deals of both Kevin and Luke. We’re really pleased with the progress they’ve been making and this is a reward for all of their hard work.
“They now have more time to improve and impress. It’s a good platform to build from and the next aim is to push for first team football.”
Ormskirk-born Dobie spent a year with Middlesbrough following his release by Everton and also enjoyed a loan spell at Accrington Stanley.
He said: “I see myself as a central midfielder, one who gets from box-to-box, and I look up to the likes of Steven Gerrard.
"My aim now is to push for a first team place. It's difficult because of the position the club is in, but a number of younger lads have got chances so far and it gives me hope for the future with Bristol City."
Meanwhile, Tom King, Nathan Battersby and Curtis Jones are all now contracted with the club until the summer. The defensive trio had initially joined the club's development squad until January.
Toby Ajala, who is also contracted until June, has returned from his recent prosperous loan spell at AFC Wimbledon. The attacker made 13 appearances for the League Two club, earning rave reviews.
McStay added: “The progress the development group is making is very pleasing and encouraging. There’s still a lot of hard work ahead as we continue to develop the group.
“We’ve certainly had the support from the head coach (Sean O’Driscoll) since he’s arrived. Sean and Richard (O’Kelly, first team coach) have attended all the games and taken a keen interest in the potential within this group.”