Chelsea are reportedly planning another bid to try and lure Everton playmaker Ross Barkley to Stamford Bridge in January.
The midfielder snubbed an opportunity to move to the reigning Premier League champions in August as he preferred a switch to London rivals Tottenham.
Barkley felt he had more chance of regular first-team football under Mauricio Pochettino, but Spurs were unwilling to sign the England star as he was facing months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The 24-year-old is expected to return to action over the next fortnight and Tottenham and Chelsea are once again expected to lead the chase for his signature, with the former looking to strengthen their squad with more English players, according to Pochettino.
“We are focused on trying to bring more English players through the academy,” said Pochettino last week.
“If we don’t have this profile we will try to take advantage of the English market and add more English players here.”
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Blues boss Antonio Conte is, however, expected to be very active in the January window as he looks to get the club’s title challenge back on track.
At this stage that seems impossible, given that leaders Man City are currently 14 points ahead of the Blues, but Conte has not completely given hope of the Stamford Bridge outfit retaining their crown.
The Blues chief is said to ready to reignite his interest in Barkley as he is reportedly running out of patience with summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The France star was hauled off at half-time of Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat at West Ham and has not exactly proved to be a huge hit since his £40million switch from Monaco.
Conte wants to pair former Leicester duo N’golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, making room for a playmaker just ahead of them and still feels that Barkley could be that man.
He is expected to compete with Cesc Fabregas for the creative role in the Blues’ engine room and would be available for a cut-price fee as he is out of contract in the summer.