Marlon Harewood has exclusively told Football FanCast that Aston Villa midfielder Ross Barkley would have been a “very good” signing for his former side West Ham United this summer.
Barkley joined the Villans on a season-long loan from Chelsea in a deal boss Dean Smith believed represented “a real coup” for the Birmingham-based outfit, who staved off the threat of relegation to remain a Premier League side on the final day of last season.
The 26-year-old had featured three times for Chelsea this term prior to leaving Stamford Bridge, but has gone on to be a regular for Aston Villa with six starts from six top-flight fixtures while providing a goal and an assist.
Smith is expected to be without Barkley for Aston Villa’s trip to West Ham on Monday night after the 2018/19 Europa League winner sustained a hamstring injury in the first minute of last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
The blow will prevent Barkley from displaying his talents front and centre under David Moyes’ watch, who has held a long-standing interest in reuniting with the 33-cap England international he previously worked with at Everton.
Moyes failed to land Barkley’s services this summer before the midfielder joined Aston Villa, with West Ham said to have rejected the potential of a swap deal involving the Chelsea talent and Declan Rice.
Harewood firmly believes the Hammers would have acquired an ideal option in Barkley had a deal been struck with Chelsea, as the £19.35m-rated star is perfect for what the east London outfit hope to achieve.
“He would have been a good player for West Ham to sign,” Harewood told Football FanCast. “I don’t know how close they were, [or] what the situation was there, but he would have been a very, very good player for West Ham to go forward in what they want to achieve.”
Barkley has certainly enjoyed his start to life with Aston Villa having played every minute of top-flight football on offer before limping off early on at home to Brighton last weekend, while providing a hand in two goals.
Only Jack Grealish (22) has played more key balls (17) than Barkley in the Premier League among the Villans’ first-team thus far this season, too, while ranking third behind Grealish (161) and Matt Target (93) for accurate passes in the final third (80), per SofaScore.
Barkley’s efforts would be enough for the 26-year-old to rank second to Aaron Cresswell among all West Ham players for key balls (18) and third to Cresswell (91) and Rice (85) for accurate final-third passes.
Only Arthur Masuaku (21) and Michail Antonio (13) have registered a higher number of successful dribbles (12), as well, while Antonio (9) is the sole man to better Barkley for shots on target (6).
So, going by his numbers at Villa Park, Barkley would certainly have made a useful addition to Moyes’ squad this summer.