In January Ross Barkley made his long-awaited move away from Everton. The attacking midfielder headed to Chelsea in a deal worth around £15 million, with just six months remaining on his Everton contract. It brought to an end what was a once promising career at Goodison Park for Barkley, which had swiftly become disappointing.
What is fair to say is that Barkley has not enjoyed a dream start to life at Stamford Bridge. He has struggled to play first-team football, and, when he has, has not shown the best form.
What is becoming evidently clear, is that Barkley joined the wrong London club. Instead of Chelsea, the 24-year-old should be at Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs’ interest in Barkley was always well known. But when he made the move to Chelsea, Spurs came out and made it clear they were not pursuing the player. As reported by the London Evening Standard, Spurs decided they might be able to procure better targets in the summer.
Whether that is to be believed or not, at one point in time Mauricio Pochettino wanted to bring Barkley to North London. That move would have been perfect for the player. Pochettino has worked wonders with young players ever since arriving in England.
He turned several of Southampton’s players into international stars. He has since done the same at Spurs, with the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli now potentially classed as world-class performers.
When it comes to nurturing talent, there are not many better than the Argentine. When it comes to natural talent, there are not many better than Barkley.
But attitude and application have always been his main problem. At Tottenham, under Pochettino, that may not have been the case.
A lot regarding the future of Barkley depends on who is in charge at Chelsea next season. Somehow, if Antonio Conte remains the boss, it is hard to see him enjoying any more productive a season at the Bridge.
The fact is, Barkley should have pushed for a Tottenham move when he had the chance. It is the only place he should have gone after Everton but now, he risks wasting his excellent pedigree as a squad player with Chelsea.