UPDTE 1-Soccer-Chelsea complete signing of Barkley from Everton

Dean Simpson
January 8, 2018

The midfielder, who would have been available on a free transfer at the end of the season once his contract at Everton expired, backed out of a £35 million transfer to the champions on the final day of the August transfer window, insisting that he was focused exclusively on his recovery from hamstring surgery.

Premier League champions Chelsea have been linked with a shock move for an Everton star as they look to bolster their squad in this transfer window.

The move to the English champions offers a new challenge for a player who has struggled to live up to the high expectations that greeted his arrival in the Everton first team.

"To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it's unbelievable for... I'm looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game".

The 24-year-old will provide competition for the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater in central midfield but Conte insists it will be a while before we see the best of the player in a Chelsea shirt.

The 22-capped England worldwide has not played a single game for the Toffees this season, and has always been prone to injury throughout his career, along with being an inconsistent performer for the Merseyside outfit.

Chelsea's top-flight title defence has faded amid Manchester City's stunning form, with Antonio Conte's men facing a 16-point deficit to the summit.

"We are talking about a player with great potential", Conte said at Cobham Training Centre. Ross Barkley is a Chelsea player, good luck to him. It's a good opportunity for the club to buy this player. He's very strong physically, good technique.

"He's a good prospect but it's very important to understand when he can recover from his injury". But that's not the case anymore, with Spurs apparently wanting to wait until the end of the season to sign him for free, while Chelsea ready to spend money now.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce was also resigned to losing Barkley, saying that the midfielder was set to move to one of England's "big boys" which now appears to be Chelsea.

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