The Ross Barkley transfer saga was one of the most intriguing in the summer transfer window. The Englishman was seemingly set to seal a move to Stamford Bridge after Everton accepted a £35 million bid by the Blues. He was reportedly in Cobham on deadline day for his medical, but changed his mind at the last moment in one of the dramatic turns in recent memory. The exact reason for this still remains unknown.
Despite those shenanigans, Chelsea aren’t going down easily and will once again once again vie for his signature come January. They are set to face stiff competition from rivals Spurs, who are keen on adding a creative midfielder to their side. Barkley will be 24 come January, with only 6 months left on his contract at Goodison Park. He should be available at around £20 million. Even though he hasn’t hit the heights promised earlier on in his career yet, that deal is certainly a bargain.
Which would be a better move for his career?
Barkley has had his fair share of injury problems in the past couple of years and has therefore been phased out of the England team. He will want to win his place back in Gareth’s Southgate side, and needs to play regularly at club level for the same. To have any chance of making the plane to Russia for the World Cup next year, the midfielder needs to have a fantastic second half to the campaign.
For game time, a move to Spurs might be the better option. According the The Telegraph, Mauricio Pochettino is keen to partner Barkley with fellow Englishman Eric Dier in midfield. This will give him a chance to make his trademark marauding runs and control proceedings from the centre of the pitch. In a young and exciting team like Tottenham with such a strong English base, Barkley would feel completely at home. At the same time, Barkley will also get the opportunity to play in the Champions League and compete against the best of the best. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Dier, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have all broken out at the international level thanks to their performances for the Lilywhites. This week, midfielder Harry Winks was also called up to the England squad.
At Chelsea, the competition for places is fierce. There are only two spots available in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 system, and N’GoloKante and TiemoueBakayoko have appeared as regular contenders. On the bench is CescFabregas, while summer signing Danny Drinkwater will also be in the running after he comes back from injury later this month. Barkley might find it too much of an uphill task getting ahead of all these names on the team sheet. He won’t want to move to a bigger club to play only in the cup competitions. Regularly featuring in the Premier League is imperative both to revitalize his club career and to have any chance of becoming a regular for England.
All in all, Conte can’t guarantee Barkley a first-team place in the Chelsea side at the moment. At Spurs, he would have more of a chance to play regularly and also gel well with other Englishmen. Therefore, a move to Wembley in January is the best shot he has of making to Russia next year.
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