Chelsea are increasingly expected to complete the January signing of Everton midfielder Ross Barkley following multiple reports of a £15m bid made by the reigning Premier League champions on Thursday night.
The Daily Telegraph describes Chelsea as being 'on the brink' of the signing after 'talks accelerated' over a potential deal said to be worth around £15m.
A report from the Evening Standard explains that Chelsea are 'determined' to seal the transfer 'as quickly as possible.' A repeat of Tottenham, who have also been heavily linked with Barkley, snatching Fernando Llorente at the last minute is not an option.
Barkley, who is out of contract at Everton at the end of the season, famously had the chance to join Chelsea in the summer in a £35m deal. He turned the opportunity down, though, choosing to focus on his recovery from a long-term hamstring injury instead.
It is as a result of that hamstring problem that the 24-year-old England international has not played a single minute of football so far in 2017/18. It is thought he is nearing a return to fitness, while the Telegraph further notes that Barkley has been impressed by Chelsea's persistence.
Barkley will become the second English midfielder to join Chelsea this season following Danny Drinkwater's £35m move from Leicester at the very end of the summer transfer window. Gary Cahill is the only other Englishman currently in the first-team squad.
The need to add more domestic and home-grown players is no doubt a factor, while the Standard also points out that Barkley will help lower the average age of a group where a number of individuals, including Cesc Fabregas and Pedro, are now over 30.