Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is reportedly open to reinstating Ross Barkley back into his plans when he returns from his loan spell at Aston Villa.
The England midfielder struggled for game time under the Blues legend but he has been catching the eye during his time at Villa Park.
Indeed, Lampard has recently contacted Barkley, 26, to congratulate him on his performances, according to Eurosport.
The source suggests that the Chelsea manager has left the Stamford Bridge door wide open for the former Everton man to return to the set-up, with the 42-year-old ‘fascinated’ by his game.
Barkley has netted three times in eight games across all competitions this season, also grabbing an assist along the way.
Villa boss Dean Smith said he anticipated a move for the playmaker after seeing Chelsea make reinforcements in the transfer window, such as the signing of £70million midfielder Kai Havertz.
“We’d asked the question earlier in the season,” he said. “I know the quality that is involved there and you’re looking at Chelsea who have bought some top quality players into the club.”
“They were one of the first movers in the market this year so we just sensed there may be an opportunity to go and get somebody of Ross’s quality out.
“Thankfully, Frank felt that it would help him by coming here and playing games this season.”
Potential Jorginho exit could free up space for Barkley
Should Barkley decide to try and vie for a place in Lampard’s side once again, he may have one less midfielder to compete with.
Jorginho’s agent has hinted at a possible exit for his client after citing Juventus as the club that very nearly snapped him up last transfer window.
The Italian was heavily linked with a move to the Serie A giants but the switch was scuppered by the exit of former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
The deal could have tempted Lampard to bring in Barcelona star Miralem Pjanic, though, and thus furthermore limited Barkley’s chances of game time.
His agent claims that Jorginho will wait to see where Sarri ends up next before deciding upon his future.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Kept Arrizabalaga is pushing for an exit after losing the number one spot to new recruit Edouard Mendy.