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Report: Tottenham target could sign with Chelsea as soon as this Friday

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Is the Ross Barkley saga over before it even really had a chance to get going in January?

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Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

If Matt Law in the Telegraph is correct, the Ross Barkley saga might be just about over. And if you were excited about Barkley potentially joining Tottenham Hotspur, it’s not good news. Law writes this evening that the Everton and England international midfielder is on the verge of signing with Chelsea, with the deal possibly being finalized as soon as Friday.

Chelsea was the other big club that was interested in Barkley along with Spurs. You’ll remember that Barkley very nearly signed with the Blues on transfer deadline day, before the deal was abruptly called off at the last minute after Barkley backed out of the medical. Now it looks as though, unless Spurs want to try and GAZUMP, Barkley will move to south London instead of the north.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce previously said to the press that he was resigned to losing Barkley, and there were rumors that a deal with a big time club has been in the works for a while. Barkley has been out since the summer with a hamstring injury, but has returned to full training with the Toffees.

Law writes that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was hoping to do a deal so that Barkley would move on a free transfer at the end of the season instead of spending actual money to buy him now.

Barkley is open to a switch to Stamford Bridge, despite deciding against the same move less than six months ago. He wanted to return to fitness from the hamstring injury that has prevented him from playing yet this season before making a decision on his long-term future.

Now nearing a playing return, Barkley is thought to have been impressed by Chelsea’s persistence in trying to sign him.

— Matt Law, Telegraph

It does seem a bit strange to me why Chelsea would be interested in Barkley with the midfield that they already possess, but then again I’ve been puzzled about why Spurs have wanted Barkley so desperately as well. What we do know is that Chelsea would be able to blow Spurs out of the water for wages offered, and that might have played a part in Barkley’s decision.

I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I was quite firmly on Team Not-Barkley this summer when Spurs had lodged a couple of substantial bids for him. And perhaps I’ve been Stockholm Syndrome’d by Spurs’ midfield injury woes and Mousa Dembele’s slow decline this season, but if this is true, I can’t help but feel...

Disappointed? No, that can’t be right.

This is still a long way from being finalized, but it does pretty much look like unless Spurs decide to try and outbid Chelsea for a player who’s out of contract in six months, Antonio Conte will have gotten his man.