By, Navaneeth Ravichandran (Twitter: @navrav28)
Chelsea have made their first big splash of the January transfer window, signing Everton player Ross Barkley for what I believe to be a bargain at 15 million pounds. The 24-year old English midfielder will join the Blues and wear number 8 (can you think of another English midfielder who wore that number for Chelsea?). Here’s everything you need to know about the newest Chelsea player
Like I mentioned before, 15 million pounds for a player like Barkley is an absolute bargain, and that’s not even considering a 35 million bid that was rejected by Everton over the summer. A hamstring injury has kept him on the sidelines for virtually the entire campaign. This, combined with a managerial change at Everton, has allowed him to be sold at a significantly reduced price. If I was an Everton fan (thank god I’m not), I would feel very hard done by right now.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been a revelation for Chelsea fans, because of his play and his versatility. He can play every single position on the back line. Think of Barkley like a more offensive version of an Azpilicueta. Conte’s two most preferred formations are a 3-4-3 and a 3-5-2, and Barkley has the versatility to slot into either the midfield or the forward unit for either formation. Conte can add him to the midfield rotation of Bakayoko, Drinkwater, and Fabregas, or he can play him up front either alongside Morata and Hazard or he can replace either one if needed.
Well Rounded Player
There’s no single aspect of Barkley’s game that really stands out. He’s a player gifted with creativity, technicality, and physicality. I like to think of him as a hybrid player, possessing the creativity and physicality of a Wayne Rooney and the technicality of a Michael Ballack. If he doesn’t start a match, his skillset will help him become a very strong strong substitute for us.
Not a Natural Goal Scorer
In 4+ Premier League campaigns, Barkley has never hit double digits in goals, with the most he’s ever scored in a single season being 8. He’ll be more focused with creating chances for the striker(s) up front than finishing himself
84 – Only Eden Hazard (88) created more chances for Chelsea than Ross Barkley (84) did for Everton in the Premier League last season. Welcome.
— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) January 5, 2018
It may be a little unusual included this fact in the scouting report, but the truth is I have seen many Chelsea fans the past few years on Twitter clamoring for more English talent on the team. Drinkwater joined us this past summer, and Barkley will now join him as another English international.
Is £15m a bargain for Ross Barkley? 🤔
— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) January 5, 2018
The Best is Likely Yet to Come
Barkley as signed a 5 year contract, which means that barring any transfers, he will be a Chelsea player from ages 24-29. Those years are typically a football players best, ensuring Chelsea will get Ross Barkley at his best. In addition, he’s never played for a top club before (sorry Everton fans, but you’re not a top club). For the first time in his career Barkley will be surrounded by world class talents, which theoretically should bring out the best in him.
Thumbnail image courtesy of: Chelsea FC
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