Aston Villa manager Dean Smith confirmed that Ross Barkley’s season at Villa Park has ended ahead of Sunday’s clash against Chelsea and spoke about the midfielder’s unfortunate injury spell.
As per the Premier League rules, the 27-year-old midfielder is not going to feature against his parent club this weekend. This will be an early end of the season for him.
Despite rumours about a potential permanent move to Villa Park earlier in the season after his brilliant performances, his form in the latter half of the season has been far from convincing.
Smith, however, refused to point the finger at Barkley and insisted that the injury had a big impact on the England international’s season.
“His loan has come to an end now, obviously, with us playing against his parent club,” the Villa boss said in his press conference on Friday.
“There was a lot right and when he signed, we knew we had signed an excellent individual.
“He proved that in his first game against Liverpool and scoring the winner against Leicester [City].
“Then unfortunately he got an injury which halted his momentum because he was playing excellently.
“He got injured against Brighton and didn’t come back until after our Covid break.
“That coincided with a lot of indifferent form from us as a team – not just Ross – and it never happened as much as we’d have liked it to.
“I certainly can’t fault the guy’s ability or his attitude, and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”
Ahead of the new season, Barkley is likely facing uncertainty over his future.
He could try and fight for a spot under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea during the pre-season, obviously. But it seems unlikely given the number of attackers that the German already has at his disposal.
Another loan spell might also be an issue since he only has two years left in his contract (until 2023); Chelsea might want to cash in before his valuation drop in summer 2022 when he will only have a year left in his contract.
The Blues is likely going to be quite busy this summer, with several other players, such as Tiemoue Bakayoko, Davide Zapacosta, Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy and perhaps even Ruben Loftus-Cheek, facing a similar situation.
So far, only Victor Moses has had a permanent move confirmed to Spartak Moscow.