In Focus: Everton star Barkley could join Tottenham despite Chelsea interest

According to reports in the Sunday Express, Chelsea are ready to join London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Everton midfielder Ross Barkley this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the England international only has one year left on his contract at Goodison Park and Toffees manager Ronald Koeman says he will be sold this summer unless he decides to sign a new deal, and he needs to let them know by next week.

Spurs have been heavily linked with the 23-year-old throughout the past two transfer windows, but now Blues boss Antonio Conte is ready to try and bring him to Stamford Bridge as he looks for a long-term replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

How has Barkley done this season?

After scoring the winning goal in his side’s 1-0 win against Watford at Goodison Park on Friday night, the midfielder took his tally for the season to five goals in 35 Premier League appearances, while he has provided a further nine assists.

When he has been on his game he has been brilliant and has helped the Toffees to the Europa League, but his critics will say that he still doesn’t put in those performances on a consistent basis.

Where would he fit in at Chelsea?

As we alluded to previously, Barkley would likely feature in the middle of the park in Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 formation – alongside a more defensive player like N’Golo Kante – and he could be the successor to Fabregas as the creative force in midfield.

He could probably also feature on the right of the front three too, but he would have less of an impact there.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while Barkley looks set to leave Everton this summer unless there is progress over the next week or so, a move to Tottenham still looks more likely than one to the champions.

Even though he could probably get a bigger wage at Stamford Bridge, he would surely be more likely to get first team football under Mauricio Pochettino.