Chelsea are considering a surprise move for England duo Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in order to boost their homegrown quota after letting a number of English players leave the club this summer.
Barkley could be offered a lifeline by Chelsea in his efforts to leave Everton, with his path out of Goodison Park appearing to be blocked by the fact that the Toffees have not received any realistic offers for his signature.
The 23-year-old is certain to leave Everton this summer, according to his manager, Ronald Koeman, after rejecting a new contract extension. With just one year remaining on his contract, Everton will not shy away from cutting their losses and selling one of their key players due to the threat of losing him for nothing next summer.
It would appear though that Chelsea could be the side that offer Barkley a fresh start, with The Sun reporting that Blues manager Antonio Conte has identified Barkley as a possible solution to his homegrown quota issues. Chelsea have allowed John Terry, Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Chalobah all leave the club this summer, while other potential first-team players in Kurt Zouma, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Izzy Brown have secured loan moves for the new season.
That leaves Conte with just one English player in his squad in defender Gary Cahill, while the club are able to call on just five homegrown qualified players in Cahill, Victor Moses, Andreas Christensen, Cesc Fabregas and Charly Musonda – three short of the eight-player minimum.
Chelsea have already brought in four first-team signings this summer after strengthening the squad with one players in each position. Goalkeeper Willy Caballero arrived on a free transfer after leaving Manchester City, while at least £127m was spent on defender Antonio Rudiger, midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and striker Alvaro Morata from Roma, Monaco and Real Madrid respectively.
Yet the spending could well continue. With one eye on £50m-rated Barkley, the other appears to be on Arsenal’s unsettled midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England international faces an uncertain future given that he does not feature in Arsenal’s starting XI more often than not when all of their players are available.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with Manchester City as well as north London rivals Tottenham, but the 23-year-old has featured during Arsenal’s pre-season preparations and Arsenal would be unlikely to sell to a team competing for the title this season.
However, Chelsea could benefit from Oxlade-Chamberlain being in a similar contract situation to Barkley. The former Southampton midfielder has 12 months to run on his current deal and has rejected Arsenal’s latest offer to stay at the Emirates, although Arsenal have shown that they are prepared to lose key players for nothing as the situation with Alexis Sanchez proves, with Arsene Wenger currently unwilling to sell the Chile international despite the fear of losing him on a free transfer next summer.
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