West Ham have been linked with a move to sign Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley ahead of the summer transfer window.
Ross Barkley, 27, joined Aston Villa on a season-long loan from Chelsea in the summer, but the move hasn’t gone according to the scripts. From being a regular starter for Aston Villa at the beginning of the campaign, the midfielder’s last five outings have come off the bench. The England international has struggled with form and a lack of fitness, managing just 14 Premier League starts so far.
Nevertheless, Barkley may get a chance to prove himself yet again at another top-flight club, and it is believed that West Ham boss David Moyes has added him to his summer wishlist. Moyes was the manager to give the English midfielder his debut at Everton back in 2011, and the chances of them reuniting at the London Stadium in the summer remain on the cards, with Chelsea open to offloading Barkley permanently.
West Ham have set their priority in signing Jesse Lingard permanently
Jesse Lingard had a point to prove after arriving at West Ham on loan from Manchester United during the January transfer window. And he’s proved it, notching sensational returns of nine goals and four assists in 10 league appearances for the Hammers. This rich vein of form saw him being recalled into the England squad by manager Gareth Southgate for the World Cup Qualifiers last month.
Lingard has galvanized West Ham’s pursuit for a top-four finish, linking extremely well with the likes of Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma. The England midfielder’s dazzling performances in claret and blue has seen David Moyes speak of his desire to sign him permanently from Manchester United at the end of the 2020/21 campaign in the Jesse Lingard-Declan Rice swap deal.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Lingard will be welcome back at United which should make it difficult for West Ham to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis.
Ross Barkley could be a good alternative to Lingard
Should the Hammers fail to get Lingard in the summer, Ross Barkley could be a smart alternative to the Manchester United star.
Having made his debut for Everton back in 2011, Barkley represented the Merseyside club 179 times, scoring 27 goals. He joined Chelsea from Everton in January 2018 but has failed to cement his place in the starting XI. After a promising start to life at Villa Park, the 27-year-old has gone off the boil and struggled for playing time in recent weeks. The Villans are apparently not happy with the Englishman’s off-field antics and have decided against signing him permanently from Chelsea.
However, Barkley is operating at his prime and could potentially reignite his career under Moyes at West Ham, just like Lingard has done. Barkley is a creative player who can play in various roles across the midfield. The ex-Everton star may not have fulfilled his top potential yet, but he has proven himself to be a reliable midfielder who can create and score goals in equal measure. He has the vision to unlock a tight defence with his incisive passing and smart movement, whilst possessing the ability to time his runs perfectly in the box and score goals.
All in all, Moyes and West Ham must take a punt on Barkley before the 2021/22 campaign commences.