Chelsea have beaten off competition from Arsenal to sign OFK Belgrade’s highly-rated 16-year-old Slobodan Rajkovic.

The Belgrade club says the Premiership champions have agreed a £3.5m deal for the centre-half – a world record for a player under 18 years of age.

“OFK and Chelsea have reached an agreement for Rajkovic,” said Belgrade general director Vladimir Bulatovic.

“He will stay with us until the end of the 2006-07 season and then he will join Chelsea.”

The Premier league champions have beaten Arsenal and Milan to sign Rajkovic who is already a regular for the Serbia and Montenegro Under-21s.

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