LONDON – Chelsea are closing in on a £15 million deal for Ross Barkley this month, and have also asked West Ham about signing Andy Carroll.
The champions’ bid for 24-year-old Barkley last August fell through when he opted to continue his recovery from hamstring surgery at Everton.
However, Chelsea have maintained their interest in the England player and are ready to push through a move now Barkley has returned to training.
Carroll has endured an injury-hit spell at West Ham since 2013, although he scored two vital goals against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.
Barkley is out of contract in the summer, but Chelsea are willing to pay around £15m for him now in a bid to outmanoeuvre Tottenham, whose manager Mauricio Pochettino is a long-term admirer of the attacking midfielder.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce had hoped to convince Barkley to stay, but he has now accepted the academy graduate will move on.
“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,” said Allardyce.
“I expect there will be some interest some time in this window. He’s back in training fulltime. 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’s other top transfer targets are proving difficult to land, and manager Antonio Conte wants cover for centre forward Alvaro Morata.
Chelsea have made an enquiry to West Ham about Carroll and held preliminary talks with the striker’s representatives.
The 28-year-old, who came off the bench for West Ham at Tottenham last night, cost £15 million from Liverpool in 2013 and has scored 32 goals in 123 games.
Despite his latest moves to strengthen the Chelsea squad, Conte claimed yesterday that he has always struggled to sign the players he wants.
The former Juventus boss told Sky Sports Italia: “I do not aim high with my requests, especially as in my history, I’ve rarely been given the players I asked for.
“I always ended up at clubs who were running an austerity programme. I just try to do my work. If someone arrives, good; if they don’t, then that’s fine too.
“I have to continue my work, either way. I give my opinion to the club, I try to tell them what roles we can improve.
“If the club ask me for some names, I try to do this, but then it’s the club that decides the investment, which is the best player for the team.”