In an exclusive interview with Transfer Tavern, ex-Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has scoffed at Chelsea’s reported asking price for Ross Barkley.
Barkley is currently on loan at Villa from Chelsea and, according to Football Insider, the west London club will demand a £35m fee from their Premier League rivals this summer in any potential permanent deal.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder made an impressive start to life at Villa Park, scoring on his debut in that unforgettable 7-2 victory against Liverpool before netting the winner versus Leicester City shortly after.
It has been downhill since then, however, with Barkley picking up a problematic hamstring injury at the end of 2020 and no longer a regular starter in Dean Smith’s starting XI.
It leaves Villa with a decision to make but, at £35m, Hendrie believes their minds should already be made up.
“There’s no doubt he’s got the ability, there’s no doubt that he’s a very, very good player and we’ve seen that when he first came into the club, but we haven’t seen it again,” the ex-Villa star told TT.
“The lack of consistency, you know, if you’re spending £35m on a player, you want some revenue back, you want to see some form of goals and creativity. Yes, he’s got that, but have we seen enough of it? I don’t think so for £35m if I‘m quite honest.”
Hendrie, however, did add:
“If you’d have asked me when he first came in, first three or four games, I would’ve said ‘yeah. I would snap your hands off’.”
If Barkley does return to Chelsea, he could face a real battle to get into the Blues starting XI. In midfield, Thomas Tuchel currently has N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho to call upon. Further forward, the German has the likes of Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz all at his disposal.
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