As far as the January transfer window goes, one signing which might surprise fans is the arrival of England international Ross Barkley from Everton to Chelsea.
The 24-year-old midfielder sealed a £15m switch on a five-and-a-half-year deal – which actually seems somewhat of a bargain if Antonio Conte can reproduce much of Barkley’s earlier form at Everton.
Chelsea fans may have mixed emotions regarding this signing and other naturals pondering what attracted the player to a team which is quite blessed in the centre of the park.
I personally feel the move will help revive Barkley’s career, whilst bestowing upon Chelsea a young player that hasn’t yet reached his prime. So, there’s certainly potential there for the deal to highlight why exactly it would be a bargain.
On the face of it, they have signed a very capable player that has struggled in recent seasons to overcome his performances.
Yet much of this I would personally pinpoint to the turbulence caused from managerial changes, along with the fact that Everton are going through somewhat of a transitional period – with players of an experienced age failing to be replaced adequately.
I believe Barkley to be a very strong leader for his age, his passion, energy is well beyond his playing years, and it really did become hard to see how he could progress further with the Toffees.
Can Everton feel a little hard done by? Not so much, I think the valuation is about right for what Chelsea paid considering the past two seasons.
Over the last few years, Everton have produced some very talented young players and there’s no sign of this coming to any sort of an end, while Chelsea haven’t quite generated their own players, so it makes ideal sense that they go out and acquire a player that they can further improve themselves.
"I’m overwhelmed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started. To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it’s unbelievable for me," Barkley said.
"I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game."
There’s no denying that Barkley can further improve his game surrounded by Chelsea’s winning mentality.
The creativity found throughout their squad will naturally see him presented with plenty of chances to add to his goalscoring record – the biggest plus is that it’s the perfect opportunity for him to re-establish himself as an intentional player.
With the right mentoring, progression and desire, I can see Barkley’s character winning over Chelsea fans and I do see him establishing himself as a Frank Lampard type character.
I’m not suggesting that they’re of the same mould, yet I can see the similarities and I do feel this is what attracted them to making the move.
If he can settle in well, in a few seasons there’s every chance that Ross will become a prime candidate for the Chelsea captaincy and this is a role which I feel would further help his development as an England player.
Regular games within Europe will also further aid his improvements, and whilst some fans may believe that he is overrated – it’s really for himself to prove any doubters wrong.
At this stage in his career, the move makes perfect sense to me and for both parties as they natural gain something different.
The opportunity is there and if the move doesn’t pay off, well the fee should easily be recouped providing he’s not left to be forgotten – hopefully he can further prove exactly why he’s one of the best young English midfielders.