Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Ross Barkley a Fantastic Target for Blues

Michael Wade@michaelwade_Analyst IIIJanuary 23, 2014

Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring for Everton.
Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring for Everton.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Chelsea are planning a summer move for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, a player that would greatly enhance their team.

Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph reports that Jose Mourinho's keenness to sign the England international was behind his thinking in agreeing to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United.

Chelsea's willingness to allow Juan Mata to join Manchester United for £37 million is part of a long-term strategy to try to land Everton's young star Ross Barkley.

Even though a deal for Mata should be completed quickly, there is little chance of Chelsea immediately using the money to sign Barkley, who is out injured with a broken toe.

Barkley, 20, would make a fine addition to the young Chelsea squad that Jose Mourinho is building, with an eye on the long-term future.

Mourinho recently spoke with Sky Sports about his intention to settle at Stamford Bridge, having enjoyed shorter spells at his former clubs, including Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea the first time around.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on Everton's Ross Barkley.
Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on Everton's Ross Barkley.Clive Rose/Getty Images

This resolution can be seen in the players Mourinho is targeting. According to The Guardian's Dominic Fifield, the club has completed a deal to sign 21-year-old Mohamed Salah. Meanwhile, Paul Joyce of the Express has linked Chelsea with Saint-Etienne's 19-year-old defender, Kurt Zouma.

After breaking into the Everton first-team squad this season, Barkley has established himself as a main player under manager Roberto Martinez and scored three goals in 19 Premier League appearances.

On his WhoScored profile, Barkley's strengths are listed as dribbling, long shots and free-kicks, such as the one he scored against Swansea to earn Everton a 2-1 win.

His fearlessness, work rate and overall ability have also impressed at the international level, where he has already earned three international caps for England and is a candidate for a spot at the 2014 World Cup.

With that in mind, Mourinho might be wise to try and tie up a deal before the tournament in case his profile and transfer fee rockets even higher.

Barkley won't come cheap. With Everton challenging for a spot in the Champions League, Martinez will be desperate to keep hold of his prized asset or at least not let him go without commanding a large fee.

But if Mourinho is able to prise him away from Goodison Park, regardless of price, it looks like one of the best investments he could make.