151 mins in PL, contract expires in 2023 – Chelsea must sell ‘hard-working’ 28 y/o [Opinion]

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ross Barkley has an uncertain future at Chelsea after struggling for form and playing time under Thomas Tuchel this season.

The 28-year-old is out of contract in little over a year and doesn’t look likely to be handed a new deal, so he may need to leave this summer as he isn’t getting enough opportunities in West London.

Barkley joined Chelsea on a five-and-a-half-year deal from Everton in 2018 and has gone on to make 98 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals with 11 assists.

The England international has failed to nail down a starting place in his four years at Stamford Bridge, starting just 8/16 Premier League games in 2017/18, 13/38 league games in 2018/19, 13/38 league games in 2019/20 and 1/29 league games in 2021/22.

He spent 2020/21 on loan at Aston Villa and started just 18/36 league games, so Barkley hasn’t managed to settle since leaving Everton.

The 28-year-old finds himself behind N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the pecking order at Chelsea, so the writing is on the wall. He’s amassed only 151 minutes of league football this campaign, spending most of his time on the bench or out of the matchday squad.

Tuchel did praise Barkley for his ‘hard-working’ attitude in November 2021 but changed his tune in January 2022 by admitting the playmaker could leave for the right price.

Barkley hasn’t given up on wanting to play regularly for Chelsea, but his expiring contract may force him to leave. The Blues paid £15m and £50k-per-week wages for the Englishman, so they’re going to want a return on their investment. Letting Barkley leave for free in 2023 isn’t an option, so he must be sold this summer.

The 28-year-old can’t afford another wasted season and Chelsea can’t afford to lose out on value. There will be plenty of Premier League interest in Barkley, so he should be able to stay in the English top-flight.