Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that Chelsea will sign Ross Barkley today. It is reported that the fee will £15 million. The young English central midfielder was reportedly on the move to SW6 this summer, but deadline day shenanigans stopped the deal dead after a medical. Barkley is yet to play this season after tearing his hamstring this summer. With only six months left on his contract, this deal represents good value for both sides. Chelsea acquire an England international with 22 caps at an extremely cut-price fee, while Everton re-coup some value on an unhappy player that could leave for free in the summer.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 5, 2018
Editors Note: The Club has made the move official.
Welcome to Chelsea, Ross Barkley!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 5, 2018
Barkley is beginning to approach full fitness, but it is unclear when he could make his club debut. Chelsea could be faced with a Danny Drinkwater-esque situation, with their new man missing significant time due to injury.
Chelsea Sign Ross Barkley
The deal came with little fanfare this time around, as Chelsea got their business done unusually early. Rumors began to prop up early this week, with reliable Chelsea correspondent Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) claiming the deal was as good as done on Friday.
It sounds like there is only a medical for Barkley to complete today before he will become a Chelsea player. He’s fit now so that shouldn’t be an issue. £15m is a bargain in the current market #cfc
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 5, 2018
Conte was asked about the deal in his pre-FA Cup press conference and had this to say:
“We are talking about an English player, a young player, he’s a good prospect for Chelsea. The club decided on this investment also because of his contract. It’s a good opportunity for the club to buy this player. He’s a good prospect for Chelsea, … very young, he has a lot of space for improvement. He’s very strong physically, good technique. But it will be important to understand when he will recover from his injury after not playing for 7 months.”
Another Central Midfielder?
Barkley adds to a long list of midfielders looking for game time at Stamford Bridge. The Blues already boast five players for two or three spots, depending on the system. Barkley brings something the others do not though, and that is goals. Footballs greatest currency, Barkley is at his best driving from deep and attacking. His physical characteristics allow him to strive in Conte’s set up, and his distance shooting is an attribute Chelsea supporters have been crying out for since Frank Lampard‘s departure.
Another potential hangup is that of Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The newly minted English international is quickly making a name for himself on loan at Crystal Palace. It is unclear whether he is headed for another loan, but some supporters are worried about the purchase of Barkley blocking his development pathway. In reality, there is a very scary Chelsea midfield where the two are aggressively pressing high and driving into advanced positions. Anchored by N’Golo Kante, it would allow plenty of freedom for both to roam and attack, while one of Barkley or Loftus-Cheek could rotate in defensively. Needless to say, Barkley is a good deal for the Blues.
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