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Many in football would perhaps have been surprised when on the 5th Chelsea decided to splash out £15 million pounds on Ross Barkley this is despite the fact that Chelsea had made a £30m pound move for the player on the summer deadline day.
Barkley has now been injured for the last seven months having had surgery on a hamstring injury back in August and although he is clearly very talented, he has only ever shown flashes of the brilliance he is capable of. Clearly Chelsea have taken a bit of a risk on the player but at just £15m, Barkley could very quickly represent value for money.
No-one can doubt that Ross Barkley has immense talent at his disposal but what can certainly be doubted is his ability to showcase his talent frequently enough for him to play regular minutes for a club of Chelsea’s calibre.
Conte though clearly still sees the potential in Barkley that most football fans once thought would soon come to fruition as after signing the 22-time capped England international he said, “I think this is a good opportunity for the club to buy this player.” He then went on to say, “for sure he is a good prospect for Chelsea.”
Ross Barkley’s stats from his Everton days though make for interesting reading for Chelsea fans as despite making 150 appearances for the club he only managed 21 goals and 18 assists meaning that he averaged 0.14 goals per game which is a surprisingly weak record for a player of such obvious attacking quality.
What may also surprise Chelsea fans is that Ross Barkley isn’t so much a youngster anymore as nearing some of the peak years of his career having turned 24 in early December. That is not to say that he cannot still fulfil his potential but it is clear that a lack of experience can no longer be used as an excuse for someone who has made so many top flight and international appearances.
Despite some of the risks Ross Barkley is obviously an immensely talented footballer when performing at his best and can almost single handedly pick teams apart from an attacking midfield role.
Barkley also has an excellent long-range strike in his locker with either foot and so is always a threat when allowed too much space on the edge of the box. His passing range is also very good but as already mentioned he severely lacks consistency and can sometimes go missing from games.
This is not something he can allow himself to do once he is fit and playing for Chelsea as his mistakes and poor performances will be under heavier scrutiny than ever and just a couple of weak turnouts could quickly result in a lengthy spell on the bench and a difficult fight to get back into a first team that is full of quality such as the likes of Eden Hazard.
Regardless of the risk of signing someone yet to showcase their potential regularly the transfer fee Chelsea paid represents very little danger to them as this is far from a huge investment.
If Barkley fails to perform it is likely that Chelsea could easily recoup that money especially in a market where players like Gylfi Sigurdsson sell for approximately £50m whereas a few years ago such a player might have cost half that. An added bonus of the fee is that Barkley himself is not under the pressure of an extortionate transfer fee and this should allow him to express himself more.
He will also certainly be aided by the added attacking quality of Chelsea which may both allow him to create more chances and for himself to be given more opportunities in front of goal.
Ross Barkley is clearly then a player of immense potential but his inconsistency over recent years is something that has clearly limited him. That being said, at just £15m the transfer fee represents very little risk to Chelsea as they have certainly picked him up on the cheap and if for whatever reason he doesn’t make it at Chelsea they could easily recoup that money further down the line on what is a talented England international.
Written by Jamie Bairstow
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