Villa in advanced talks to sign Luton stand-out
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Villa in advanced talks to sign Luton stand-out

21/05/24 08:34

As per the Guardian Sport, Aston Villa are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Luton Town midfielder Ross Barkley.

The Englishman spent a season on loan at Villa during the 2020/21 season and after a stellar campaign for the Hatters, Unai Emery is reportedly keen for him to return to the club on a permanent basis.

Promising beginnings to feeling blue

When the 30-year-old first broke through into the Everton first team, he was widely tipped to become one of the best English midfielders of his generation. Alongside the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gerrard Deulofeu and Leighton Baines, Barkley was an integral part of a Toffees side that was battling in and amongst the big six English clubs.

After four impressive seasons at Goodison Park, the midfielder swapped the blue of Merseyside for the blue of London, signing for Chelsea in a deal worth £15 million. However, he was unable to replicate his prior form for the Blues and ultimately struggled to hold down a starting place under any of Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard or Thomas Tuchel.

Of all clubs, Barkley was sent out on loan to Aston Villa for the 2020/21 season, with Lampard still in charge of the Blues. Villa had then just survived their first Premier League campaign since their return, led by Dean Smith at the time. It was a move that came with high hopes for Barkley, with many fans hoping he’d reignite his former glory days. After 24 Premier League games for the Villans though, he scored just three goals and registered one assist.

Where has Ross Barkley been?

Barkley’s contract at Chelsea was ultimately terminated and he signed for OGC Nice on a one-year contract in September 2022. During that season, the Englishman made 27 league appearances for Nice, a tally he hadn’t bettered in a campaign since he left Everton in 2017.

Upon his contract expiry in France, Barkley agreed to sign for newly promoted Luton and return to the Premier League. The season that has followed has arguably been one of his best to date.

Despite failing to emulate the goal contribution figures that he was once boasting in Merseyside, Barkley became a key figure in the Hatters team that was on the cusp of miraculously securing top-flight safety. The Englishman completed 32 league matches in the heart of the Luton midfield and recorded nine goal contributions over the course of the season, again, the most since his time at Everton.

A return to the top?

His fine renaissance has gathered the attention of Aston Villa who are now reportedly in advanced talks to sign the midfielder after securing Champions League football for next season. However, if the Villains are to win the 30-year-old’s services, they will have to stump up a fee to Luton with Barkley’s contract at the club running beyond this summer.

Should Aston Villa re-sign Ross Barkley?

Look, there is no doubt that Barkley has had a solid season for Luton and deserves to stay in the Premier League next season. Despite the low expectations of the club when they entered the top-flight, they have proved a lot of doubters wrong, holding their own against many of the league’s big hitters and coming agonisingly close to extending their stay. The Englishman was without a doubt one of the main reasons for this, providing both the experience and quality of a top-level player, which on some occasions dragged Luton through tough games to grind out results. However, although Villa will need to recruit bodies ahead of playing in Europe once again this season, it could be argued that they should be looking at bigger names than Barkley. Now, that is not to say that Barkley isn’t a quality player, but with the incoming increase of revenue and prize money, Villa are more than capable of aiming higher.

The only possible caveat of this is the potential transfer fee. Despite producing moments of quality wherever he has been throughout his career, Barkley has not accumulated a huge total in transfer fees. As mentioned previously, Villa need to expand their squad ahead of what is bound to be another gruelling campaign playing in Europe. Although they will need to recruit top-quality players to enable the club to compete on several fronts next season, a low transfer fee would make Barkley a cheap and efficient option who would be useful to have as a squad player. The Englishman would provide experience of playing in Europe’s elite competition alongside having the potential of being a leader inside the dressing room. If the price is right (that means fairly low), the acquisition of the 30-year-old could prove to be a shrewd piece of business for Villa who, as well as putting together a potential run in Europe, will once again be looking to have a promising league campaign.

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