Chelsea Planning Talks Over Deal for Tottenham Target Following Sunday's Clash With Everton
Chelsea are ready to hold talks with Premier League rivals Everton over a potential deal for midfielder Ross Barkley after the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Telegraph report that Barkley is one of three English players - alongside Leicester's Danny Drinkwater and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who the club are looking to sign prior to Thursday's transfer deadline. The Blues are desperate to add to a thin squad ahead of their return to the Champions League next month.
Chelsea's city rivals Tottenham are currently believed to be in the box seat to sign Barkley, though they feel they can steal a march on Daniel Levy by catching the attention of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright, who both live in London, after the game takes place.
Spurs are said to be preparing a bid worth £28m to secure the signing of the midfielder, though Chelsea are ready to gazump that figure - and they may need to too given the club's strained relationship with Everton following a public pursuit of John Stones a couple of years ago.
Toffees manager Ronald Koeman admitted earlier this summer that Barkley's future laid elsewhere - meaning it's still hugely likely he'll leave before the deadline - and confirmed that the club would eventually sell the England international.
He said in July: "We made a really good offer to him to sign a new contract, he declined that contract and told me that he is looking for a new challenge.
"He is not in Everton’s future any more. It is his decision. I need to respect that and see what happens. It is really clear. I am looking to other players, that is my priority and not Ross, with all respect because it is his decision. Everybody knows what the situation is. That is enough.
"I don’t talk any more about this situation, we will see what happens. He told me at the end of last season [that he wants to leave]. He has one more year on his contract and we work with respectful people."