Premier League • England

Pundit ‘can see’ Everton signing Chelsea star as key issue comes into play

Ross Barkley and Billy Gilmour celebrate a Chelsea goal 2020

Pundit Noel Whelan reckons Everton will sign a Chelsea star in January as Rafa Benitez looks to improve his squad on the cheap.

The Toffees had to rely on cheap and free players during the summer as a result of their lavish spending in the past. They will break Financial Fair Play regulations if any more big names are brought in.

Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean both cost over £25m but have not lived up to the billing. Kean’s spell at Goodison Park was cut short when he re-joined Juventus on transfer deadline day.

Benitez’s shrewd captures earlier this year have proven to be big hits. Free signing Andros Townsend is on five goals and three assists, and looks to be enjoying his time on Merseyside.

Demarai Gray, who cost just £1.6m, is troubling defenders with his blistering pace on the counter-attack. He has registered three goals and two assists in the Premier League so far this season.

More of those arrivals will be required if Everton are to move up the table without spending big.

And Whelan reckons they could look to re-sign Ross Barkley from Chelsea this winter. The Englishman might be available on loan as Thomas Tuchel has plenty of options in central midfield.

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“I think that would be a good signing and I can see it happening,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“We’re seeing a different Ross Barkley right now to the one we saw at Aston Villa last season – he’s got his mojo back.

“He’s got that hunger; he wants to impress when he comes off the bench at Chelsea – he’s pressing and hustling the opposition really well.

“He’s also capable of getting into that final third and causing teams problems in there, as well.”

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Barkley spent last season on loan at Aston Villa. He got off to an electric start but that form soon fizzled out.

“I was disappointed with his performances at Aston Villa, he had a real opportunity to make the grade there and step into that Grealish-shaped hole this season,” Whelan added.

“He’s not hit the heights of his potential, but he could get back to his best back at Everton.”

Barkley came through Everton’s academy before bursting into their first team in 2013-14. He would make 179 appearances for the Toffees, scoring 27 goals, before moving to Chelsea for £15m in January 2018.

Everton successful in bid to keep star forward

Meanwhile, Everton have successfully kept hold of Brazil forward Richarlison, amid links with Paris Saint-Germain.

The French giants are looking for Kylian Mbappe’s replacement as the goalscorer edges closer to Real Madrid.

Richarlison was seen as his successor, but Everton held firm in the summer. Spanish source El Espanol write that PSG will instead target Red Bull Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi.

Richarlison has bagged 44 goals in 126 appearances for Everton since joining the club in 2018. He is on two goals for the current campaign but has struggled with a knee problem.

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