Aston Villa must avoid a major Ross Barkley nightmare after Dean Smith’s transfer update.
The England international joined the club on loan from fellow Premier League side Chelsea, and has since endured a disappointing spell at Villa Park, scoring just three goals in the top-flight all season.
And now, speaking after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday night, Smith revealed that there have been no discussions over a potential permanent deal with Chelsea.
He said: “No, Ross Barkley came in on loan at the start of the season. Obviously, Frank (Lampard) was the manager at the time we did a deal to bring him in on loan. That’s where it was. He’s got another two years left on his contract at Chelsea and that’s not been discussed at all.”
It’s been a real telling sign that Barkley hasn’t started a Premier League game since the 2-1 defeat at home to Leicester, either being left on the bench as an unused substitute, or just coming on for brief cameos – even starlet Jacob Ramsey appears to have pipped him in the pecking order in recent weeks.
Villa podcaster Simon O’Regan critcised the midfielder’s recent form just last month, saying: “I think what’s sort of annoyed me as well over the last few weeks is Ross Barkley, and I’m not trying to single him out because I think he has been really heavily criticised more than he probably should have been, especially when other players haven’t exactly stepped up either.
“These last few weeks were a real opportunity I think for him to really shine and play his way into getting in a decent move and he hasn’t really done that.”
As O’Regan says, the £18m-rated Barkley just hasn’t shown enough to warrant Villa coughing up a decent sum of money to make this move permanent, and that really is on the midfielder himself for not doing so.
With Jack Grealish out, he had the perfect opportunity to really showcase his worth and prove to Smith and the fans that he’s someone worth keeping over the long-term. Instead, he’s proven beyond doubt that Villa simply cannot justify signing him on a permanent basis.
Johan Lange must avoid a major Villa nightmare this summer and just let Barkley walk away, or else Smith will surely be fuming at signing someone he clearly doesn’t rate anymore.