Next we look at some Ross Barkley transfer news. It seems to be widely accepted that he will be leaving Everton with the club openly admitting their willingness to cash in on a player who has rejected several contract offers and would be able to leave for free next summer. Several clubs have been linked with Barkley, no one more so than Chelsea.
What does the future hold for Barkley? We’ll take a look at his options…
Nationality: 22 caps 2 goals
Position: centre/attacking midfielder
Reported Transfer Fee: £30mil
2016/17 League Stats: 32 starts (4 sub appearances) 5 goals (8 assists)
If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to get a bit bored by Ross Barkley’s situation and you’re hoping for a resolution one way or the other now. It’s looked inevitable that he would be leaving Everton since the transfer window opened but still no move has materialised.
Barkley seems to have made it clear he does not see his future at Goodison by refusing to sign a new contract. This has forced Everton to publicly admit his availability which has somewhat weakened the club’s position given that Barkley is entering the final year of his contract too.
With this in mind it may therefore be understandable why any interested clubs are biding their time, looking to get the best deal they can, knowing the longer this drags out the more desperate Everton may become to sell. This could the lower the cost of a potential deal.
It’s a risky strategy though as many clubs maybe thinking the same. The lower the price, the more potential suitors may appear.
Going by reports (for what that’s worth) Chelsea seem to be favourites to sign Barkley. I can see a degree of logic behind these links though, especially when looking at a potential deal from Chelsea’s perspective.
Without doubt they were the best team in England last season by a mile. It’s probably fair to say though that they benefited from a lack of European football and the reduced demands that would have had on their squad. Whilst they were also very fortunate with injuries. Rarely was Conte forced to make changes to his preferred XI, unless he wanted to.
This season they are of course back in the Champions League and their squad looks light to fight on all fronts. Barkley would provide more quality depth both in the attacking midfield area and even possibly slightly further back in midfield. His versatility could be a plus.
Am I convinced that Barkley would improve their first team though or even be a regular starter? No not really.
Whilst he is capable of filling in as a standard midfielder, I can’t see his long-term future there or Conte entrusting him with such an important position regularly. For Chelsea the central midfield is pivotal to how the team plays, not only offensively but also defensively.
- Barkley doesn’t have the discipline, experience or game know-how of someone like Fabregas.
- He doesn’t have the engine or anticipation of Kante.
- New signing Bakayoko is also far more dynamic and physically imposing.
Barkley just doesn’t possess the defensive qualities of these players to make this position his own in a balanced team such as Chelsea’s.
Long-term, I’m sure Barkley’s future will continue in a more advanced, free-role, just behind the striker. Any purchasing club I’m sure will be buying him for what he offers in attack rather than looking for an ‘all-rounder’.
Again though, I’m far from convinced he would be capable of cementing a place in the Chelsea team, even within his favoured position.
- Hazard speaks for himself, if fit he usually plays. Sometimes he has some consistency issues but he seemed to be returning to his old self last season. On his day he’s World-Class.
- Conte also likes Pedro, probably due to his movement and ability to stretch teams. He looks like he’s an established first-team regular too.
- Whilst Willian, who has been used sparingly by Conte, isn’t a bad option either! Capable of stretching teams, taking on play-maker duties or putting a shift in. I personally feel that Conte has under-used him. If he’s on the bench then I don’t foresee better for Barkley.
I don’t see Barkley displacing Hazard or even Willian for the play-making role, he’s most suited to. I don’t see Conte opting for two play-makers very often if he doesn’t fancy Hazard and Willian together either. Therefore Hazard and Pedro look comfortable in possession of the first-team berths.
In terms of Barkley and his career I don’t think it would be the best move. He’d be a rotational/back-up player at best. This won’t help his international aspirations with England either.
In all honesty I’m not sure it would be much different at any of the big clubs in England. Barkley still lacks the consistency to become an important player amongst such tough competition which is inevitable at such clubs. Global football is definitely lacking talent in some key positions but the attacking midfield area is not one of them. Most teams are stacked with talent in this area.
In many respects it could be argued he is already at the best club to continue his development in Everton. Whilst they don’t look like they are capable of breaking into the top 6, they do look like arguably the best of the rest and still seem to qualify for Europe most seasons.
However it will be hard for Barkley to reintegrate himself at Goodison after rejecting a contract and Koeman looks to have already planned for life without Barkley with the expensive purchases of Klaassen and Sigurdsson. Not to mention plenty of other options already at his disposal, such as Tom Davies, Mirallas and the injured Bolasie. There seems to have been a bit of a personality clash with Koeman and that could be really unfortunate for Barkley’s career.
I’m not sure there was anywhere better for Barkley to get regular first-team football. It’s hard to see him having any future at Everton now though.
Barkley’s price-tag seems to be around £30mil and Chelsea can afford to pay such an amount for a player in the last year of his contract and are likely to be more comfortable to do so than most too. There are also suggestions that Conte wants to introduce a greater home-grown influence at the club, having lost Terry and a number of young English players. Squad quotas might be main motivation.
Given the greater demands on the squad this season with European football and the personnel lost in the close-season it’s clear Chelsea are short of numbers throughout their squad. I’m sure Chelsea will have no trouble matching Barkley’s wage demands and this could be telling as I’m not convinced some other clubs would. It may not be a great move for Barkley but given money talks, I can see this one happening.
Is Chelsea a good move for Barkley? Is Barkley a good move for Chelsea? What do you think? Leave a comment below.