Tottenham Hotspur have received a massive blow in their pursuit of Ross Barkley, with Chelsea entering the race to sign the Everton midfielder. The midfielder is currently in his final year of contract and while the Toffees value him at £50m ($65m), the current situation suggests that the 23-year-old can be made available for half the price.
The Telegraph reports that Chelsea are now pushing to complete a move for the midfielder and are willing to beat Tottenham to the deal, with the north London club striving to make Barkley their first signing of the summer. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy believes Barkley's current situation with his contract, along with Koeman's admission that he is likely to leave has pulled his value down.
Barkley was not part of Everton's pre-season plans, partly because of a groin injury he was recovering from. The 23-year-old rejected a new contract with his boyhood club earlier this summer and has made it clear that he is seeking a "new challenge", but Toffees boss Ronald Koeman has recently stated that there has been no offers for the midfielder thus far.
Antonio Conte is looking to sign British players in order to boost their homegrown quota and is believed to be prioritising the potential capture of Barkley, who made his debut for Everton in 2011. They have also been linked with a move for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the midfielder also in his final year of contract, but the Gunners are unwilling to sell.
However, Conte has earmarked Barkley as the deal of the summer, with the amount of money being spent on players, opposed to their quality. Chelsea have the upper hand in this regard, given they will have absolutely no problems in paying the midfielder a weekly wage of more than £100,000 ($128,567), where Tottenham may suffer given their stadium debt.
Everton manager Koeman has already prepared for life without Barkley and is hoping Swansea City talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson can complete a deal in the coming days.