Chelsea complete signing of Ross Barkley from Everton
Midfielder joins the champions on a five-and-a-half-year contract for €16.8 million
Ross Barkley has completed his move to Chelsea from Everton. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Chelsea have announced the signing of Ross Barkley from Everton in a deal understood to be worth £15m (€16.8m). The midfielder described the move as “unbelievable” and said one of his primary targets was to score more goals.
Chelsea went back for Barkley after a deadline-day move collapsed last summer. The clubs agreed a £35m (€39.5m) fee and Barkley personal terms with the Premier League champions, only for the player to request more time to consider the deal as he recovered from a serious hamstring injury.
That delay has cost Barkley’s boyhood club £20m (€22.5m) in transfer revenue, although Everton risked losing the England international for nothing in the summer and reluctantly accepted a cut-price move.
Barkley is out of contract at the end of the season and Everton’s manager, Sam Allardyce, admitted on Thursday the club was resigned to losing its homegrown talent, who has rejected offers to extend his stay.
The 24-year-old, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal, told Chelsea’s website: “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. 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.”
Antonio Conte explained on Friday why he wanted to bring Barkley to Chelsea. “We are talking about an English player, a young player,” the manager said. “He has good prospects for Chelsea. I think the club decided for this investment also for his contract. I think this is a good opportunity for the club to buy this player. For sure he is a good prospect for Chelsea.”
Conte cautioned against expecting Barkley, who had not played a competitive match since May, to make an immediate impact. “Don’t forget he had a bad injury, he had surgery,” he said. “This player has not played in seven months … We must have great patience. We have to hope to recover him very quickly, to try to help us for the rest of the season.”
Barkley has been at Everton since he was 11 years old, having been spotted by the club’s late and prolific former scout Sid Benson, and made 150 Premier League appearances.
His future at Goodison was thrown into doubt during Ronald Koeman’s reign as Everton manager, with the Dutch coach regularly criticising the midfielder in public and the player then stalling over a contract extension.
Koeman’s immediate replacement, David Unsworth, and permanent successor, Allardyce, both hoped a change in management would encourage Barkley to recommit to Everton but that has not materialised. The England midfielder has not featured this season because of his recovery from hamstring surgery but returned to first-team training over the festive period. – Guardian service