Ross Barkley was a Euros hopeful earlier this campaign when he moved to Aston Villa from Chelsea for assured game-time. He enjoyed a blistering start with a scoring debut against Liverpool back in October, but the reverse fixture on Saturday afternoon showed how the Englishman has lost the plot ever since returning from a hamstring injury a few months back.
Although Villa were weighing up the option of striking a permanent deal for the Chelsea loanee, his current form must have made them sceptic ahead of the summer window. Barkley has not started a game since Villa’s 2-1 home defeat against Leicester City and a figure of 3 goals and 1 assist in 21 league games is not speaking on his own behalf either.
The 27-year-old Three Lions international progressed through the youth ranks of Everton and eventually joined the Blues for £15m on 5 January 2018. Despite his versatility, Barkley failed to make any notable impact in the star-studded Chelsea side and opted to ply his trade at Villa Park to reclaim his lost charm. Things have not gone in his favour though and the player might have to seek a summer transfer once his loan deal expires.
According to a report from the Telegraph, West Ham United are in the hunt for the midfielder if he fails to make the cut in Thomas Tuchel’s plan. The Hammers are enjoying a majestic campaign with a place in the Champions League up for the grabs. The decision of bringing Jesse Lingard on a winter loan has been a masterstroke and the Londoners must prioritize a permanent swoop for the Manchester United attacker amid interest from Arsenal.
Dean Smith, meanwhile, is sweating over the future of Jack Grealish who is tipped to be England’s next-generation superstar. Clubs are keeping close tabs on his situation and Villa, his boyhood outfit, would make an enormous financial profit if they eventually let their prized asset leave. Barkley, on the other hand, is capable of featuring as a ‘number 10’ down the wide or in a central midfield slot, yet the club must not tie him down considering the persistent problem with fitness and form.
The likes of Trézéguet, Bertrand Traoré and Anwar El Ghazi are decent wide attacking options with rising sensation Jacob Ramsey being promoted gradually to attune to the standards of Premier League football. The Claret and Blue, therefore, must switch their sights elsewhere and identify a more suitable option for the forthcoming future.