Paul Merson believes Chelsea’s decision to allow Ross Barkley to join Aston Villa on loan could backfire for Blues boss Frank Lampard.
After falling down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, Barkley signed for Villa on Wednesday.
Indeed the 26-year-old played only 40 minutes across two of Chelsea’s three Premier League games this term.
Villa boss Dean Smith hailed Barkley’s loan signing as a “real coup” for Villa and Merson fears it could prove disastrous for Chelsea as the season progresses.
“Frank Lampard has made a mistake sending Ross Barkley out on loan because he will be a superstar for Aston Villa,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star.
“What a signing that is. I can’t quite believe it, if I’m honest. How Barkley doesn’t get in the Chelsea team beats me. He is a huge talent.
“To let him go like this, especially to another Premier League team, is a dangerous game by Frank.”
Lampard could face serious questions
Merson added: “If Barkley hits the ground running and starts ripping it up for Villa then serious questions will be asked why Lampard let him go.
“Chelsea have already gone out of one of the cups and they have looked hit and miss so far in the league despite spending all that money.
“They are still not defending well and Frank won’t need any extra pressure on him from Ross Barkley tearing things up at Villa Park.”
The marquee arrival of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen played a significant part in Barkley’s recent lack of action.
Havertz has scored three goals and assisted one other in four appearances for the Blues. Although all of his strikes came at once, in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup thrashing of Barnsley.
Chelsea star moves closer to exit
Meanwhile, reports claim that Bayern Munich have moved closer to a loan deal for Blues forward Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The England international is another player whose game time has been restricted by new arrivals. Timo Werner has started the season well, with Hakim Ziyech yet to make his debut.
And after failing with an approach for Hudson-Odoi last January, Bayern are reportedly keen to try again.