Carlton Palmer, while speaking exclusively to Football FanCast correspondent Tom Ward, has urged Aston Villa owner Wes Edens to sign Chelsea loanee Ross Barkley on a permanent transfer.
Palmer believes Villa Park is “the perfect fit” for the 26-year-old to thrive, having seen the England international net once and assist a goal in six Premier League appearances under Dean Smith since moving to Birmingham on a season-long deal.
Barkley had fallen behind Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic in Frank Lampard’s pecking order at Stamford Bridge and departed south west London in search of more regular game time ahead of next summer’s postponed Euros.
Barkley’s efforts under Smith have reportedly caught Chelsea’s attention, with multiple claims that the door remains open for the Everton product to return at the end of the term as Lampard has been impressed by both his attitude and form in claret and blue.
Villa would expect to be priced out of the market should they attempt to strike a permanent deal next summer, though Palmer would urge Edens and Sporting Director Johan Lange to at least try and sign the £96,154-per-week maestro.
“I think it’s the perfect fit for him, I really do,” he told Football FanCast. “I’ve always liked Ross Barkley.
“The only thing with Ross is he picks up too many injuries, but he’s a very, very good player, he is a talented player. I think to go to somewhere like Villa where there’s a lot of players around his age, all got something to prove, I think he just fits in nicely in the way the midfield plays with [Jack] Grealish.
“I’m just conscious of the amount of games he plays, he’s got to get that under his belt, where he’s playing. There’s no point coming in and being sensational for five or six games and then missing the next 10 games. He’s got to get 28 games in a season where he’s playing really well.”
Lampard’s decision to sanction Barkley’s loan move has been slammed previously by former Aston Villa forward Paul Merson, who noted in his column for the Daily Star how the Blues had played a ‘dangerous game’ by allowing the midfielder to leave for a club where he would be a ‘superstar’.
Barkley has proven Merson right since, with Smith starting the £19.35m-rated midfielder in all six available Premier League games before being without the 26-year-old for Monday’s defeat at West Ham United through a hamstring injury.
Yet despite failing to feature at the London Stadium, Barkley ranks third among all Villa players for goals scored in the Premier League this term (2), as well as for successful dribbles (12) and shots on target (6), while ranking second only to Grealish (27) for key passes (17), per SofaScore.
His hamstring strain was expected to keep Barkley out of action for two matches, but could make his return at Wolverhampton Wanderers in next week’s Midlands Derby after one game out following Friday’s scheduled encounter with Newcastle United being postponed.