Ross Barkley has officially joined Aston Villa from Chelsea in a loan deal for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
Chelsea have made an official statement to confirm that Ross Barkley has made a temporary move away from Stamford Bridge. The English international has joined Premier League outfit Aston Villa on a season-long loan deal and will spend the rest of the 2020/21 season at the club.
Barkley joined Chelsea from Everton in January 2018, but only made gradual progress initially at the west London club due to the effects of a long-term injury. Over the last couple of seasons, he has slowly established himself in the Blues’ first-team setup, although he mostly remained a squad option.
Morning, Villans. 😉
Welcome to Aston Villa, @RBarkley8! 🙌
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 30, 2020
His status within the squad seems to have dropped further at the onset of the 2020/21 season, with the arrival of Kai Havertz increasing competition for places across the midfield positions. The same has been apparent in on-field decisions made by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard with Barkley starting just one game so far.
Over the last few days, it started becoming clearer that a move away from Barkley could be on the horizon for him, even if temporarily so. And, the club that had been at the head of the pack in the race to sign the 26-year-old from Chelsea, were Aston Villa.
The Villans barely staved off relegation last season, having been overly reliant on Jack Grealish over the course of the campaign. And, in order to pull away from the drop zone, it was clear that Dean Smith needed more quality at his disposal, something that Villa acknowledged, by signing Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash.
🎯 Ross Barkley is one of only 12 players to have started 20+ Premier League games since 18/19 to boast a pass accuracy in excess of 90% (90.2%)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 30, 2020
In midfield, Barkley’s move from Chelsea gives Smith an injection of quality, with a three-man unit of Douglaz Luiz and John McGinn potentially being a game changer for the club. Upon completing the deal for the player, Dean Smith expressed his delight at the prospect of managing the English midfielder.
The Aston Villa manager said, “Capturing a player of Ross’s quality is a real coup for our Club and I am certain he will thrive here and improve our team.” As per the reliable Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, Barkley and Chelsea teammate Ruben Loftus-Cheek were both considered by Villa.
However, Barkley was always the first choice for Smith, who has now got his wish, with the priority now likely to be shedding some weight from his squad. What will now be interesting to see is if the 26-year-old can regain his best touch at Villa Park to possibly force himself in Chelsea’s plans for next season.