With the summer transfer window slamming shut and Ross Barkley failing to find himself a new club after spending last year on loan at Aston Villa, we look at what could come next for the Chelsea midfielder.
What's the latest news involving Ross Barkley?
Barkley has fallen so far down the pecking order at Chelsea that he was initially stripped of his squad number for the current season - his No.8 shirt has instead been handed to Mateo Kovacic - and he spent at least part of the summer training away from the first-team squad.
It seemed that news would inevitably prelude a summer departure but despite links with Burnley on Deadline Day, the one-time England man finished the window still on the books at Stamford Bridge.
Barkley has since been given the No.18 shirt and included in Chelsea's Champions League list, but it seems unlikely he'll be involved much after the Blues bolstered their midfield ranks late in the window by signing Saul Niguez on loan.
What has been said about Ross Barkley?
It seems Barkley's natural ability is still highly-rated within the game itself. Back in May, former Everton star Marcus Bent insisted the one-time Goodison prodigy should return to his old stomping ground if the opportunity presented itself.
Of course, no such move materialised but that didn't prevent Bent from comparing Barkley to another Merseyside-born midfielder - a certain Steven Gerrard.
He told Football FanCast: "Ross Barkley, for me, when he came through, and still is, an absolute talent, the problem being is that he hasn’t stabilised a spot at any team.
“If he were to go back to Everton, and I’ve spoken to Everton and they’re lacking that in midfield. He’s got skill on the ball, he’s like a Stevie G."
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What's next for Ross Barkley?
That's a very good question, but with his Chelsea contract due to expire next summer, it's a logical assumption that the club will try to offload him before that point.
The Russian and Turkish transfer windows are still open so perhaps he could be enticed into a move to either country. Transfermarkt currently rate him at £18m, although the Blues would do well to get that for him under the circumstances.
Failing that, Chelsea could hold out for a club desperate enough in January to pay to sign Barkley six months before he'll be available for nothing - perhaps a side loitering around the relegation zone and in need of a talisman.
But said to be taking home £100k per week at Stamford Bridge, it might be difficult to convince Barkley he should surrender any earnings before facing an uncertain future next summer.News Now - Sport News