Two years ago, Ross Barkley completed a protracted £15million move to Chelsea, who have no intention of letting him leave Stamford Bridge on the cheap.
Barkley had struggled to establish himself as a regular in the Chelsea midfield amidst stiff competition from N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
The signings of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, who arrived for huge fees from Ajax and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, restricted his chances even further.
A loan move to Aston Villa was considered the best option for both parties and had helped to revitalise Barkley’s career before he suffered a hamstring injury just five minutes into the 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Before a hamstring injury held back his progress, moving to Aston Villa on loan had helped to revitalise Ross Barkley’s career.
The England international had been combining well with Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins, scoring on a memorable debut that ended in a 7-2 win over Liverpool.
Barkley hasn’t played since November but is believed to be nearing a return as Villa remain on course for a top-half finish, which would represent a major improvement on last season’s final-day survival.
Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi have performed well in his absence, but many supporters are still calling for Barkley’s move to be made permanent.
Despite the abundance of talent Frank Lampard has to choose from, the Chelsea manager won’t let Barkley leave for a reduced fee according to the Birmingham Mail (opens in new tab).
With Barkley’s contract tying him to Chelsea until June 2023, they are under no pressure to sell unless Villa make them the right offer.
Dean Smith is also believed to be interested in Bournemouth’s David Brooks, who has been one of the Championship’s star performers this season, as they look to build on a strong start to the season.
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