Former Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood has given his old club the thumbs up regarding a permanent deal for Ross Barkley in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast.
Barkley is currently at Villa Park on loan from Chelsea and made an instant impression at the start of the season. The 27-year-old scored on his debut, the incredible 7-2 win against Premier League champions Liverpool, and followed that up with a winner away at Leicester City shortly after.
However, his form has since dipped following a hamstring injury, resulting in manager Dean Smith leaving him on the bench in Villa’s last few fixtures.
Harewood, though, still likes the idea of his former club signing Barkley permanently at the end of his loan deal, believing it would be a good move for the Chelsea midfielder, too. Speaking exclusively to FFC about Barkley, who is said to be on £96,000-a-week, the retired forward said:
“I think he’s been a great player for them at the beginning of the season, showing what he can do. So it’s just obviously trying to get him back to his fitness and getting back to where he should be and what he wants to be. Obviously, I’m assuming he wants to be in England, so himself, he’s got something to prove. So I don’t think the club will have to do a lot to try and get him back.
“Him and [Jack] Grealish complement each other when they’re on the scene and Villa have been doing so well this year, so I think he will want to stay there because the set-up there is just unbelievable and fantastic and the way they’ve looked after him. And they’ve given him a chance, so I think he’ll want to repay them with playing week in, week out.”
From Barkley’s perspective, a permanent transfer to Villa looks to be in his best interest. At Chelsea, there appears to be no way back.
In the attacking positions, new Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has been utilising the likes of Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech. Meanwhile, further back, the German looks to be glued to a Jorginho-Mateo Kovacic midfield pairing, with N’Golo Kante rotating in.