Chelsea are preparing to reignite their interest in Everton’s Ross Barkley when the January transfer window opens.
The Blues were reportedly hit by a last-minute deadline day snub from the 24-year-old in the summer and, despite London rivals Tottenham also retaining an interest in Barkley, have not been deterred in their pursuit.
That is according to the Daily Mail anyway, who have alleged that Antonio Conte will try and entice Barkley to Stamford Bridge again after the turn of the year.
Barkley is yet to make a single first-team appearance for Everton this season as he continues to battle back from a long-term hamstring tear sustained on the eve of the 2017/18 campaign.
The attacking midfielder will enter the last six months of his current deal at Goodison Park on 1st January too, but has so far rebuffed all advances from the Toffees to extend his stay.
Barkley cited the need for a “new challenge” back in August when Ronald Koeman was in charge, but new boss Sam Allardyce admitted that he will try and convince his Blues star to pen a contract extension when he is fully fit again.
Allardyce: “I would like to think we can keep Ross Barkley, unless somebody has already done a deal for him. I am not daft enough to know in this game that those words and phone calls might not have already gone on.”
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) December 4, 2017
If the 63-year-old proves to be unsuccessful, Everton may look to sell the England international in the winter window rather than lose him for nothing next June.
Barkley is free to talk to foreign clubs from next year onwards and potentially agree a pre-contract agreement to join a new team, but it is much more likely that he will remain in the Premier League.
That puts Chelsea and Spurs in pole position to contest for his signature, though question marks remain over the latter’s desire to pay a small fee for him now and chance their hand by landing Barkley for free on 1st July.
Such a ploy would be risky if Chelsea are preparing a new offer for Barkley, and it could end up coming down to whether Barkley prefers a move to north London rather than west London as to who he may possibly join.