Aston Villa could sign Ross Barkley for a cut-price fee from Chelsea this summer, according to Alex McLeish.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa boss suggested agents would be working on striking a deal for less than the Blues’ current valuation.
As revealed by Football Insider, Dean Smith is undecided whether the 27-year-old is worth the £35million asking price set by Chelsea.
It is understood the midfielder would need to deliver a “special” run of form to convince the Villans to pursue a permanent deal at the end of his loan spell.
He made a bright start to life at Villa Park as he scored in both of his opening two games.
However, he has contributed just one goal and one assist in his 13 appearances since.
Notably, Barkley has started on the substitutes’ bench for the last two games despite Jack Grealish’s absence.
McLeish admitted £35million was too high a price for the midfielder but suggested a cut-price deal may be struck.
Asked about the price tag, McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I’m sure that there’s always a way. The agents will work something out and Barkley will go somewhere.
“Maybe not for the asking price, Chelsea may have to drop that a little bit.
“At the same time, if Barkley brings back the Barkley, the consistency of a terrific looking player that you can’t take your eyes off when you’re watching a game, then that’s the player that will be worth that money.
“For that kind of money, you would be expecting Barkley to be at the top, top level, every single game.”
Barkley has played a total of 15 times for Aston Villa since joining temporarily last summer.
He has a total of 217 Premier League appearances and 33 England caps under his belt to date.