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Chelsea Transfer News: Tottenham to Rival Blues in Latest Ross Barkley Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 12:  Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on May 12, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly ready to rival Chelsea in the chase for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley in the January transfer window.

According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is an admirer of the England international and would be seeking to use him in a deeper midfield position.

Cross noted that a withdrawn role would help Barkley enhance his chances of making it to next summer's FIFA World Cup finals.

"That could turn out to be a huge bonus for England boss Gareth Southgate, who is desperately short of deeper-lying midfielders ahead of Russia 2018," he wrote. "His first-choice anchorman is Eric Dier, who may end up playing alongside Barkley for Tottenham."

According to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, while Everton agreed a fee with Chelsea of £35 million for Barkley in the summer before a deal fell through, the playmaker will be available for around £20 million in January with his contract set to run out at the end of the campaign.

As reported by Simon Stone of BBC Sport, despite Everton accepting an offer from Chelsea for the player, Barkley said he didn't want to make a move while unfit. 

Per the report, there were some suggestions the 23-year-old had undergone a medical before changing his mind; the man himself clarified the situation on social media:

Ross Barkley @RBarkley20

Contrary to a number of reports in the press, I did not undertake a medical with any club at any point.

Ross Barkley @RBarkley20

I simply decided that due to my injury, it would be best to make a decision on my future and assess all my options in January when fully fit

Blues boss Antonio Conte had his say on what was a chaotic deadline day, per ESPN FC's Liam Twomey:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Conte asked if he was kept from talking to Barkley on deadline day: "I think it's ridiculous, what I read. I stop." #cfc

With Barkley seemingly set for an inevitable exit from Goodison Park in the near future, the questions that remain surround a price for the player, a timeframe and his next club.

Cross noted Pochettino's exceptional work with English players in north London may prove to be a crucial factor for Barkley in his decision. The likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose have all benefited massively from working with the coach.

Alli has benefitted from working under Pochettino.
Alli has benefitted from working under Pochettino.Julian Finney/Getty Images

There are areas of his game that Barkley would be able to improve following some time on the training pitch with Pochettino too. Off the ball, he can occasionally lose concentration, while on it he has a tendency to cling to possession for a little too long.

If those facets of his game can be tweaked, he has the potential to be a huge asset, as Barkley can dribble, shoot and find passes in the final third. As these numbers from WhoScored.com illustrate, there's no doubt the midfielder is naturally creative:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Most key passes of players aged 23 & under in Europe's top 5 leagues since August 2016: 🥇T. Lemar - 87 🥈R. BARKLEY - 84 🥉Suso - 71 https://t.co/M2YR7PZiDI

Evidently the Blues have a serious interest in Barkley, and Conte is a coach who would also help the midfielder kick on. However, having missed out on the Everton man at the end of the summer transfer window, you wonder if Chelsea have missed their chance.

Given he's out injured and unlikely to return before 2018, Barkley has plenty of time to focus on his recovery and his possible options in the midseason window. Taking his qualities, weaknesses and age into consideration, a move to Spurs feels like the perfect path for him at this point.

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