Despite the Toffees failings, they signed Gylfi Sigurðsson, Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney, there is no space at the inn for the Everton No.10.
Antonio Conte’s team have struggled with fatigue this term. The introduction of Champions League football has apparently taken it’s toll at Stamford Bridge, so the Italian boss is looking for reinforcements.
The Evening Standard reported last week that Chelsea will move for both Barkley and Monaco’s Thomas Lemar in January, with the Englishman much more easily acquired than the France international.
Now, those reports have been substantiated by the news Barkley underwent a medical with the Blues on Friday ahead of a proposed £15million switch.
Here, we’ve looked at how the midfielder compares to Conte’s current options behind the striker, based on last season’s statistics for each in the Premier League.
What is immediately apparent is that the Everton man played more games than all but Real Madrid transfer target Eden Hazard last term and more than held his own against the Chelsea trio.
Barkley comes out on top for shots per game (2.4) with a significantly higher number than Willian (1.3) and Pedro (1.7). He also fares better than the pair on key passes per game (2.3) and dribbles (1.7).
However, the Belgian star Hazard posts better numbers in all three categories but especially dribbles per game where he recorded four – the third-most in the Premier League. Only Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (4.1) and Adama Traoré (five) were trickier.
Conte’s 3-5-2 formation, which has worked extremely well with Hazard playing beside Àlvaro Morata, could still work should the Italian want to rest the former Lille star.
Yet, the Everton man could even play a deeper role, getting involved in the midfield battle. In terms of goals and assists, Barkley’s output was a lot better than the negative press around him suggests.
Although he was the lowest scorer of the four, he still managed eight assists – more than Hazard (five) and second only to Pedro (nine).
On a purely statistical level, the Everton man can hold his own against Chelsea’s array of No.10s and could well be a good addition. And in the current market, £15million for a player of Barkley’s ability is an absolute steal.