Ross Barkley is someone who has filled column inches since bursting onto the footballing scene.

After coming through at Everton, hopes were high that he could follow in the footsteps of fellow Evertonian Wayne Rooney and have a trophy-laded career.

But football often doesn’t work that way.

His career at Everton stalled somewhat, and therefore, in his final season on Merseyside, he insisted he wanted to leave.

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League
(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

And although he was beset with hamstring issues, Chelsea signed him in January 2018 for £15m.

Although £15m used to be a hefty transfer fee, in the modern market, it is an inconsequential fee for a club of Chelsea’s size.

Barkley barely featured under Antonio Conte after arriving, but has seen his fortunes change under Maurizio Sarri.

He’s played 11 times in all competitions so far this season – that’s more than he did all throughout last season.

Chelsea v Vidi FC - UEFA Europa League - Group L
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

And he scored his first goal for the Blues against Southampton on Sunday and his performances have earned himself a recall to the England squad.

So, if Barkley continues to excel, could he become Chelsea’s best pound-for-pound signing in recent history?

As Mateo Kovacic only signed on loan, Sarri’s attention should be on developing his permanent players.

Barkley’s played little football recently, so is still going to be rusty.

Southampton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

And at 24 years of age, Barkley still hasn’t hit his prime, suggesting he could still get better.

He could slot into the Marek Hamsik-role that Sarri loved at Napoli, scoring goals from midfield.

And if he continues to play well, Barkley could remain a permanent parter of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the midfield.

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