Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is actively looking to sign on-loan midfielder Ross Barkley on a permanent basis, according to a source close to Premier League Central.
After surviving on the final day of last season, Villa needed to address their midfield situation which led the club to sign Barkley on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
Our source says that the loan deal did not include an obligation to buy clause in the contract. Importantly, that would mean that Chelsea can take Barkley back if a fee cannot be agreed.
However, the source states that Chelsea manager Frank Lampard does not see Ross Barkley in his long term plans as the London side has already brought in attacking midfielders in Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech.
That sees Barkley fall further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge. Interestingly, the England midfielder’s contract with Chelsea does not contain any release clause in it, meaning that Chelsea will have the leverage to dictate a higher price from Aston Villa.
Clearly, the form of Barkley is working in Chelsea’s favour, with the midfielder contributing two goals and one assist since his move. We understand that Villa are willing to pay up to £32 million to secure the deal.
That would be more than double the £15 million that saw Barkley move from Everton to Chelsea back in January 2018.
The form of both Villa and Barkley will have Villa fans dreaming of what their club can achieve under Dean Smith.