Chelsea are reportedly stepping up their pursuit of Everton midfielder Ross Barkley and are determined to sign a deal with him

According to a report by Liverpool Echo, Chelsea have set their sights on Ross Barkley and are keen to land a deal for the midfielder after selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United. It is understood that the Blues are trying to add more home-grown players to the squad and Barkley has been identified as a potential signing.

Although Tottenham Hotspur have been long-time favourites to sign the 23-year-old, they will now have to face competition from Chelsea. Everton are demanding £50 million for Barkley, despite him having merely 12 months left on his contract at Goodison Park, and it remains to be seen if the Blues are willing to pay that tidy sum.

Barkley blew hot and cold in the 2015/16 campaign wherein he scored 12 goals and assisted 11 in 48 appearances across all competitions. The decline in form saw a strain in his relationship with Ronald Koeman which led to the manager criticizing him for his inability to improve tactically.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on August 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Chelsea calling? (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Last season though, Barkley proved to be a lot better in several other aspects which goes to show that he is undoubtedly talented. His versatility to play at the heart of midfield makes him an asset as well, as he has shown on several occasions at Everton.

When on song, though, Barkley can prove to be a value addition to any squad, which is something that would have caught Antonio Conte’s eyes. With the departure of Matic, the Chelsea boss has just N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko as central midfield options to choose from currently.

Conte is also eyeing attacking reinforcements ahead of the forthcoming season, which is perhaps where the interest in Barkley stems from. However, the Blues will have to be wary of the fact that the Spurs are eyeing a deal as well so they will need to make a move soon.

Regardless of whether or not Conte manages to seal a deal for Barkley, the promising midfielder is likely to do wonders for whichever squad he joins. Having said that, Barkley will need to work on his consistency if he joins Chelsea as the club will have the added responsibility of defending the coveted Premier League title next season.

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