Chelsea keen on Barkley move

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER -

Chelsea are in­creas­ingly con­fi­dent they will se­cure Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain from Arsenal be­fore the clo­sure of the trans­fer win­dow and hope to speak to Everton over the potential pur­chase of Ross Barkley after to­mor­row’s meeting be­tween the sides at Stam­ford Bridge.

The pair could yet be joined by another Eng­land in­ter­na­tional, Le­ices­ter City’s Danny Drinkwa­ter, as the cham­pi­ons seek to sat­isfy An­to­nio Conte and bol­ster his se­nior options be­fore Thurs­day night’s dead­line.

Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain, who has en­tered the fi­nal 12 months of his con­tract, has been of­fered new terms by Arsenal but is un­der­stood to have made clear his de­sire to de­part for a fresh chal­lenge after six years at the club.

In­tran­si­gence

Arsenal are not pre­pared to lose all of Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain, Me­sut Özil and Alexis Sánchez un­der free­dom of con­tract next sum­mer and, given the lack of suit­ors for the Ger­man and the hi­er­ar­chy’s in­tran­si­gence over the prospect of sell­ing Sánchez this sum­mer – Manch­ester City are likely to test that re­solve be­fore Thurs­day – the Eng­land mid­fielder ap­pears the like­li­est to leave.

Liver­pool have been in­ter­ested but, while no bid has yet been re­ceived, Chelsea feel an of­fer worth around ¤37.8 mil­lion will be ac­cepted and the player will make the switch across Lon­don.

They will com­pete with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur for Barkley, who is in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion with a torn ham­string which will keep him out un­til the new year.

Chelsea’s in­ter­est has sur­faced late but they are ready to trump any Spurs of­fer for the 23-year-old and hope to speak face to face to the Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, or the chair­man, Bill Ken­wright, if they at­tend to­mor­row’s game.

Fall­out

There are bridges to be re­built with the vis­i­tors after the fall­out from Chelsea’s in­ter­est in John Stones last sum­mer and Romelu Lukaku this year. Those play­ers ended up join­ing Manch­ester City and Manch­ester United re­spec­tively.

Drinkwa­ter has yet to fea­ture for Le­ices­ter this sea­son with Chelsea’s open­ing bid, worth around ¤16 mil­lion, hav­ing been re­jected. City value the 27-year-old at more than ¤32 mil­lion but the player has made clear he is keen to move to Stam­ford Bridge and a com­pro­mise is likely to be reached next week.

Conte would wel­come the ad­di­tion of the three English­men after a tense sum­mer be­hind the scenes, with Chelsea’s attempts at squad strength­en­ing laboured.

Ross Barkley: one of three Eng­land play­ers tar­geted by Chelsea

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