Monday 16 July 2018

Chelsea close to landing Barkley in £15m switch

Everton's Ross Barkley. Photo: Nick Potts/PA
Everton's Ross Barkley. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Matt Law

Chelsea are close to clinching the signing of Ross Barkley after making a new bid for the Everton midfielder.

It was revealed last week that Chelsea had grown increasingly confident they could land Barkley this month, even though he turned them down at the end of the summer transfer window.

Not wanting to leave it so late this month, Chelsea have moved again for Barkley and talks between the Premier League champions and Everton aim to bring a speedy resolution.

Tottenham have also been chasing Barkley since the summer but Daniel Levy, the chairman, had hoped to set up a deal to land the 24-year-old on a free transfer at the end of the season, when his Everton contract expires.

Chelsea, though, are prepared to pay to take Barkley immediately and could be willing to spend as much as £15 million (€17m) - roughly half of what they agreed to pay in the summer - on the player.

Sam Allardyce yesterday admitted Everton remained resigned to losing Barkley and suggested he would join one of the biggest clubs in the country.

Barring a late bid from Spurs, that seems destined to be Chelsea, with Barkley believed to be open to a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Fitness

Barkley wanted to return to fitness from the hamstring injury that has prevented him from playing this season before making a decision on his long-term future.

He is now nearing a return and is thought to be impressed by Chelsea's persistence.

Antonio Conte, Chelsea's head coach, has made it clear he would like squad reinforcements this month and although midfield is not a priority position, Barkley's signature would be a boost.

Barkley's arrival would also allow Chelsea to loan out Charly Musonda, who is yet to start a Premier League game this season.

Owner Roman Abramovich has been keen for Chelsea to sign more English players since losing John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, hence the decision to bring in Danny Drinkwater and pursue Barkley.

Barkley was identified as a special talent by former technical director Michael Emenalo, whose success rate in spotting potential stars has been high in recent years.

Emenalo identified Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku for Chelsea, while he also pushed for the club to sign John Stones, who has since excelled at Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois has confirmed that he is close to signing a new Chelsea contract after the club offered him a deal in excess of £200,000 (€250,000) a week to become the best-paid goalkeeper in the world.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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