Premier League rivals Aston Villa are reportedly plotting a move to try sign Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan.
According to the Telegraph, Dean Smith’s side are weighing up a loan offer for the 26-year-old, as they look to sign a new central option before the transfer window shuts.
Is is claimed that Chelsea have demanded any club would have to pay Barkley’s significant £120,000-a-week wages in full.
The report adds that Blues midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also a possible loan target for Villa, but Premier League regulations means you could only loan one player at a time from a top-flight rival.
Barkley has been used as a substitute in the opening two games of the Premier League season, while on Wednesday night he played the full match during a 6-0 demolition of Championship side Barnsley in the Carabao Cup third round.
He operated as a central midfielder alongside Mateo Kovacic, while Kai Havertz scored a hat-trick in the number 10 role.
Barkley got himself on the scoresheet too with an excellent low driven shot to the bottom corner, but did also miss a clear open goal chance that will haunt him.
Despite not being a nailed-on starter in the squad, manager Frank Lampard clearly likes him and it would be a surprise if he’s allowed to leave.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek has had a difficult start to the new league season and has plenty of work to do.
The 24-year-old midfielder has been left out of the previous two match day squads after his disappointing performance in the opening league game, but Lampard has publicly backed him.