Chelsea’s Barkley in surprise move to Aston Villa


Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on a season-long loan, the club announced on Wednesday.

Barkley is Villa’s fifth summer signing, following the arrivals of Bertrand Traore, Ollie Watkins, Matt Cash and Emiliano Martinez.

“Capturing a player of Ross’s quality is a real coup for our club, and I am certain he will thrive here and improve our team,” Villa boss Dean Smith said.

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Barkley will join Villa following the arrival of midfielders Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz at Stamford Bridge, which further pushed him down the pecking order under Frank Lampard.

The 26-year-old failed to make the starting lineup in any of Chelsea’s opening Premier League matches against Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool or West Bromwich Albion. Last season he made 13 appearances in the Premier League, scoring three and assisting four goals.

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Barkley’s last appearance for Chelsea this season came in the 6-0 Carabao Cup victory over Championship side Barnsley, and he was an unused substitute as the Blues were defeated by Tottenham 5-4 on penalties in the fourth round (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.) on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are willing to let Antonio Rudiger leave before Monday’s transfer deadline but would prefer to sell him to an overseas club amid interest from Tottenham, sources have told ESPN.

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