Chelsea round-up: Everton talks over Barkley; Oxlade-Chamberlain deal close; Conte reacts to Champions League draw

Chelsea have begun talks with Everton over a potential deal for midfielder Ross Barkley, according to The Telegraph. Chelsea know that their work is cut out given the poor relationship between the two clubs since a failed move for John Stones, but are hoping to beat Tottenham to Barkley’s signature.

Spurs are prepared to pay £20 million with a further £8 million in add-ons, considering the fact that his contract expires next summer and he is currently sidelined for three months with a hamstring injury. Chelsea may have to beat that in order to seal a deal.

An alternative, or another potential signing, could be Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Guardian say that Chelsea are confident that they are in pole position to secure his arrival for a fee of £35 million before Thursday’s transfer window deadline.

However, the Mirror have claimed that Liverpool could provide some late competition for the England international. The Reds were linked with him earlier this summer but Chelsea did look like his most likely destination, though his report seems to suggest that Liverpool could actually be the favourites to land the midfielder.

Such additions will be required if the club are to compete on all fronts, including the Champions League. Antonio Conte spoke to the press and gave his opinion on the club’s draw against Atletico Madrid, Roma and Qarabag in the group stage, being quoted by Football.London as saying:

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“It’s a tough group stage but when you play this type of competition you must be prepared to face strong teams, the best teams in Europe. I think in this moment it’s very difficult to tell whether it’s a good group or a bad group. It’s important to play well in this type of game and to try to perform out best.”

The former winners will be keen to be contenders for the crown again this year, having missed out on qualification to take part in the competition last season.

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