Brighton & Hove Albion have reportedly entered the race to sign Chelsea outcast Ross Barkley amidst interest from Everton and Newcastle United.

According to an exclusive report from TEAMtalk, Ross Barkley’s Chelsea future looks set to be determined soon, with a host of top-flight clubs having made enquiries about the availability of the England international in recent days.

The 28-year-old has failed to live up to the initial hype that prompted Chelsea to pay £15 million to bring him to Stamford Bridge from Everton in 2018. Barkley spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, but after a bright start, a combination of niggling injuries and a drop in form meant he faded out towards the end of his inconsistent spell at Villa Park.

Unable to secure a permanent move last summer, Barkley has been a peripheral figure since returning to Chelsea. This term, he has featured sporadically, primarily due to injuries, managing just over 400 minutes of footballing action across all competitions. Despite the lack of football, there appears to be no shortage of suitors for the out-of-favour Blues star.

Brighton & Hove Albion have emerged as the latest candidates competing with the likes of Newcastle United and Everton for the signature of the Englishman. With Aaron Connolly set to join Championship outfit Middlesbrough on loan for the rest of the season, the Seagulls are keen to sign an attacking midfielder to replace him.

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Graham Potter’s side play a fluid style of football, which generates a lot of high-quality chances for their frontline. Although Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard have stepped up their outputs this campaign, boasting 11 goals between them, Brighton are only averaging a below-par 0.94 goals per game.

So they can make do by adding a midfield goalscorer to their ranks. The Seagulls have tasted success with the signing of ex-Liverpool star Adam Lallana, and they can repeat the trick by signing Barkley. In addition to the Seagulls, Newcastle have also shown interest in signing the England international.

Injuries to key stars Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, with the latter out for months, have dealt the Magpies with a huge setback in their bid for survival. In addition, with Joelinton potentially shifting to a more comfortable midfield role and Joe Willock underperforming since his permanent move, Barkley could add some much-needed firepower to their attack.

Everton, meanwhile, are eyeing a potential reunion with their former star. The Toffees boss Rafael Benitez is an admirer of Barkley’s talents and is interested in bringing him to Goodison Park. The Merseysiders are looking to add some bodies to the squad after dealing with a lot of absentees in this campaign. Furthermore, a return to familiar surroundings could do Barkley’s career a lot of good going forward.

Barkley is keen to leave Stamford Bridge in search of regular football, aiming to force his way back into the England setup ahead of the 2022 World Cup. But much would depend on Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who is yet to make the final decision on his future, with Covid-19 and injuries stretching the Blues’ squad in recent weeks. Only time will tell whether Barkley secures a move away from Stamford Bridge or stays put.

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