Aston Villa

Aston Villa may struggle to sign Ross Barkley on a permanent basis after Thomas Tuchel’s appointment at Chelsea, according to Alex McLeish.

The former Villa and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the German manager would be willing to shake things up at Stamford Bridge after replacing Frank Lampard and the 27-year-old could force his way back into the plans in London.

As quoted by the Birmingham Mail, Dean Smith confirmed there is no recall clause in the midfielder’s contract, meaning he will remain a Villa player until the end of the season.

Barkley has scored twice in nine appearances for the Villans so far and has re-established himself among the starting XI in recent weeks after a lengthy absence through injury.

McLeish admitted he was very impressed with what he saw of the England international in the early weeks of his loan spell and suggested if he could keep up his good form, he could be playing for his parent club next term.

“The form that I’ve seen Ross in when he first came to Villa was really, really good, really at a high level, a high standard,” McLeish told Football Insider.

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“The fact he knows he’s staying there until the end of the season, if he’s got aspirations of going back and having a career at Chelsea, he knows he has to maintain a particularly high level.

“Tuchel now being in charge, you would think Tuchel would make changes as well so if Barkley goes on to have a tremendous second half of the season, then you would imagine he will be in Tuchel’s plans.” 

Barkley has played a total of 86 times for Chelsea to date but fell out of favour under Lampard.

He will have aspirations of making the England squad for this summer’s European Championships and adding to his 33 caps.

In other news: ‘The best we’ve had in 15 years’ – Gabby Agbonlahor in awe of one Aston VIlla player.