Chelsea have a plan to beat Tottenham to Ross Barkley signing

Antonio Conte was left unimpressed during the summer when Chelsea failed to sign a number of his major transfer targets.

It left the Italian frustrated and the club could only stumble to an agreement to sign a new deal that would increase Conte’s pay, rather than extend the length of his deal at Stamford Bridge.

The former Italy and Juventus boss has already made it clear he will not take any prisoners and previous reports have suggested he could quit the Blues due to their transfer dealings.

However, such rumours have slowed of late and Chelsea could make amends for their failings in the summer by spending big again in January to provide Conte with more depth.

A move for Virgil van Dijk was ended after Liverpool agreed a £75 million fee with Southampton for the Dutch defender, while a move for AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar could materialise.

The midfielder turned down a £92 million move to Arsenal in the summer in favour of playing Champions League football, but their west London rivals could now hijack a move.

Any such transfer would be alongside the club’s negotiations with key men Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois over new long-term contracts at the club.

Chelsea maintain Barkley interest

However, according to the Telegraph, Chelsea will have more crucial business to deal with in January as they return for a second attempt to sign Everton’s Ross Barkley.

The England midfielder came agonisingly close to moving to Stamford Bridge in the summer after the Blues had agreed a £35 million transfer fee with Everton, only for the player to reject a move.

It’s understood the 24-year-old wanted to fully recover from a long-term hamstring problem before deciding on the next stage of his career and nearly went as far as having a medical at Chelsea.

Barkley opted to keep his options open in January and Toffees boss Sam Allardyce admits he is left powerless to losing the club’s academy product.

Blues willing to pay fee for Barkley

Chelsea are reportedly willing to pay a fee for Barkley next month in order to steal the march over their bitter rivals, Tottenham, who are believed to be interested in taking Barkley next summer.

The north Londoners are hopeful their track record of developing young English players will tempt Barkley to wait until the summer to complete a free transfer.

However, the Blues are willing to pay a cut-price fee compared to the £35 million they offered in the summer, to ensure they acquire Barkley – who has six months left on his contract.

Tottenham aren’t understood to be ruled out of stumping up the cash either, however, Chelsea are believed to be leading the way for the midfielder’s signature.

But given Barkley’s injury woes, it would be wrong to completely rule out him remaining at Goodison Park to re-find his best form before seeking a big move elsewhere.

Chelsea, though, will be desperate to finally get a deal agreed with the Everton man to cool Conte’s evident frustration regarding transfers.

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