Aston Villa are being linked with a move for Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley, who is someone that Paul Merson has previously rated highly.
The Telegraph reports that Villa are considering a potential swoop to try sign the Englishman from Premier League rivals Chelsea on loan.
It is understood that Dean Smith’s team would need to pay his £120,000-a-wages in full if they want to sign him, plus they are also considering his teammate Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a possible option this summer.
Barkley, 26, scored in midweek during Chelsea’s 6-0 Carabao Cup win over Barnsley and has had game-time in all three matches of their season so far.
The 33-time capped England international is a central midfielder that is good with both feet and has lots of Premier League experience, so would be quite the signing for Smith’s squad even if it’s only a loan.
Pundit and ex-Villa player Merson explained last year that the Chelsea playmaker is a real threat when the shackles are taken off him.
“Give him (Barkley) a free role and some confidence and he’ll make things happen,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star (14 September, 2019) during last season in a piece about getting the best out of him.
Barkley is someone that doesn’t standout as a key player at Chelsea, but is a valuable member of their squad due to his versatility and would most likely be a star man for a team lower down the division.
He can slot in at various different roles in the midfield, but previously made his name at Everton as a youngster in a creative number 10 role and he can be a real goal threat in a playmaker role.
Villa already have some quality players in the centre of the park with the likes of John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Doulgas Luiz and Conor Hourihane, but is Barkley does become available it seems a no-brainer to try bring him to the Midlands to improve their group.