Aston Villa should meet Chelsea’s £35million asking price and sign Ross Barkley permanently this summer, according to Frank McAvennie.

The former West Ham and Celtic striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, said Dean Smith’s side will struggle to find somebody as good as the 27-year-old for that amount.

Barkley has been named on the bench for Villa’s last three Premier League fixtures, even when star man Jack Grealish has been sidelined through injury.

Football Insider revealed on 5 March that Chelsea have slapped a £35million price tag on the England international, who is currently on loan at Villa Park.

However, the West Midlands club are yet to be convinced that the attacking midfielder is worth that much.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of Barkley’s future, Frank McAvennie said: “He has done very well, even though he has gone a bit cold of late.

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“It looks to me as if he is enjoying it at Villa though. He looks as if he is having a good laugh in the midfield with Grealish and McGinn. When you enjoy what you are doing it is great. You get a better shift off the boys when they are happy.

Aston Villa

“I would say £35million for Barkley is a bargain. It is not a bad price.

“Can you get somebody as good as him for the same price or less? I do not think there are many out there.”

In other news, Agbonlahor has tipped an Aston Villa system change as big news emerges from Bodymoor Heath.