Chelsea are ready to intensify their pursuit of Everton wantaway and Tottenham Hotspur target Ross Barkley after learning of the playmaker's recent return to full training.

Barkley rejected the offer of a lucrative contract from his boyhood club last year and made it clear to the Goodison Park hierarchy that he was looking for pastures new, with many pinning his desire for wanting to leave down to his fractured relationship with former manager Ronald Koeman, who was relieved of his duties in October.

Everton had hoped to try and convince their lauded youth graduate to remain on Merseyside and pen fresh terms, but manager Sam Allardyce confirmed on Thursday (4 January) that the Toffees are preparing to bid farewell to the 24-year-old, who has not featured at all this campaign after suffering a serious hamstring problem in pre-season.

"I think that we are resigned and the club was resigned before I got here that we're going to lose Ross and I can't see that changing," Allardyce said.

"I expect there would be some interest some time in this window if there's going to be any interest from one of the big boys.

"He's back in training full-time. When he comes back the touch won't be quite as good as it used to be and the match fitness won't be quite as good as it used to be."

Chelsea thought they had captured Barkley in the summer transfer window, only for the vaunted England international to have a last-minute change of heart and renege on a £35m move to west London.

There were suggestions that Barkley was holding out for a move to Tottenham, whose manager Mauricio Pochettino had earmarked him as a long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele, but Chelsea have given little credence to those suggestions and are looking to pip Spurs to the midfielder's signature by completing a £15m deal in the coming days, according to the Daily Mail.

Chelsea have the option of waiting until the summer to try and pilfer Barkley for free, but Antonio Conte's side have instead decided to get ahead of Tottenham and any other interested parties by offering Everton a fee and concluding a deal this month. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, known for his frugal nature, was hoping to clinch Barkley on a free in the summer, but the former Leeds United loanee has been swayed by Chelsea's unquenched desire to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

It remains to be seen if Chelsea's willingness to capture Barkley sparks Tottenham into life but Blues boss Conte is intent on strengthening his ranks, with a move for West Ham United forward Andy Carroll also under consideration.

Conte is seeking cover for Alvaro Morata and has never been convinced by current understudy Michy Batshuayi, and talks between the Premier League champions and Carroll's entourage are said to have already begun.

Ross Barkley
Barkley's time at Everton is almost at an end Getty Images