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Chelsea Close In On Ross Barkley With Renewed Bid

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Chelsea are on the brink of clinching the signing of Ross Barkley after making a renewed bid for the Everton midfielder.

Chelsea could even complete the signing today after talks accelerated over a deal believed to be worth in the region of £15million, amid suggestions Barkley was in London yesterday.

Chelsea had grown increasingly confident they could land Barkley this month, even though he turned them down at the end of the summer transfer window.

Tottenham have also been chasing Barkley since the summer, but chairman Daniel Levy had hoped to set up a deal to sign the 24-year-old on a free transfer at the end of the season when his Everton contract expires.

Chelsea, though, are prepared to pay to take Barkley immediately and Sam Allardyce yesterday admitted that Everton remained resigned to losing him.

Allardyce suggested that Barkley would join one of the biggest clubs in the country and, barring a late hitch or a last-gasp bid from Spurs, that now seems destined to be Chelsea.

Barkley is open to a switch to Stamford Bridge, despite deciding against the same move less than six months ago. He wanted to return to fitness from the hamstring injury that has prevented him from playing yet this season before making a decision on his long-term future.

Now nearing a playing return, Barkley is thought to have been impressed by Chelsea’s persistence in trying to sign him.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has made it clear he would like squad reinforcements this month and, although midfield is not a priority position, Barkley’s signature would be a boost.

Conte has often shifted to a three-man central midfield in a 3-5-2 formation this season which increases the need for strength in that position.

Barkley’s arrival would also allow Chelsea to loan out Charly Musonda, who is yet to start a Premier League game this season. Owner Roman Abramovich has been keen for Chelsea to sign more English players since losing John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, hence the decision to bring in Danny Drinkwater and pursue Barkley.

Barkley was identified as a special talent by former technical director Michael Emenalo, whose success rate in spotting potential stars has been high over recent years.

Michael Emenalo identified Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku for Chelsea, while he also pushed for the club to sign John Stones, who has since excelled at Manchester City.

Chelsea are now desperate not to let another Emenalo recommendation slip through the net and risk him shining at one of their rivals. Thibaut Courtois has confirmed that he is close to signing a new Chelsea contract after the club offered him a deal in excess of £200,000-a-week to become the best-paid goalkeeper in the world.

“We will wait a few weeks and then sit around the table – I’m happy at Chelsea and a deal is close,” said Courtois.

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