Chelsea favourites to sign Ross Barkley

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Chelsea are favourites to sign Everton midfielder Ross Barkley ahead of Manchester United, according to the bookmakers' latest odds.

Paddy Power have Chelsea priced at 11/4 to be the next permanent club of the 20-year-old, who has already been capped three times by the England national team. His fine performances for the Toffees in this, his breakthrough Premier League campaign, could even earn him a place in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for this summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Manchester United (priced at 16/5) are the second-favourites to sign the gifted midfielder, while Arsenal and Manchester City are both priced at 5/1.

However, in order to convince Everton to sell their prized asset, any of the interested clubs would need to at least equal the current British transfer record of £50m, set in January 2011 when Chelsea purchased Spanish striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool.

Back in December it was reported that Manchester United were plotting a £50m bid for the midfielder, although Everton boss Roberto Martinez said the club were not prepared to accept any offers during the January transfer window, even if they received a similar bid to the world record £86m Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale last summer.

Whether Everton would listen to offers at the end of the season is currently unclear, although it's difficult to imagine the Toffees rejecting any offer in excess of £50m.

But which club would Barkley prefer to join if he had the choice? After effectively describing his current Everton manager Roberto Martinez as a better coach than predecessor David Moyes, now at Old Trafford, it's little wonder why Chelsea have been installed as the favourites to secure his services.

Who should Ross Barkley join after Everton? Have your say in the comments section below.

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