Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley has joined Aston Villa on a season long loan.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa have secured, in the words of Dean Smith, ‘a real coup for our club’ by signing Ross Barkley on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
The 26-year-old England international, who has picked up over thirty caps for his country, will join Aston Villa in the hope of securing a role within the squad for next year’s EURO competition.
The midfielder has been in the Premier League for what seems like an age, in a nine-year career spanning two clubs.
Barkley first appeared for Everton at the age of 17 after graduating from their youth academy, and went on to appear 179 times for the Toffees whilst scoring 27 goals.
He then moved to Chelsea in the 2017-18 season, signing for a fee of around £15,000,000 and signing a five-and-a-half-year contract.
The midfielder has receiced some high praise in the past, with current Belgium manager Roberto Martinez referring to Barkley as a “mix between Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack”, whilst former Barcelona midfielder Xavi said in 204 that Ross’ “physical and technical qualities mean he could play for Barcelona”.
Ross Barkley is known to be an excellent ball carrier with a similar style to Jack Grealish, providing a high creative output and a strong goal threat too.
In 21 appearances last season (1,104 minutes), the new Aston Villa loanee created 24 chances, whilst registering a 89% pass accuracy. He also boasted a 68% take-on success rate, meaning that the midfielder is adept at beating his man.
Following the signings of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech this summer, and with the already available options of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic, Barkley has found himself down in the pecking order at Chelsea and has failed to start in any of Chelsea’s opening Premier League game this summer.
Barkley is now Aston Villa’s fifth summer signing, joining Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore, Emiliano Martinez and Matty Cash through the doors at Bodymoor Heath. He was always Dean Smith’s preferred option as links to team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek arose, but the deal looked tougher to pull off initially.
Until last night, the deal looked like it would not happen, but Dean Smith and the transfer committee did not waste any time once the chance arose. The midfielder was on the bench during Chelsea’s Carabao Cup loss to Tottenham Hotspur last night – so it looks as if the deal was struck overnight.
As it stands, there is currently no information about an obligation or an option to buy.