Aston Villa are yet to be convinced Ross Barkley is worth the £35million fee Chelsea want for him this summer, Football Insider understands.
It has been reported that Villa will look to convert Barkley’s season-long loan into a permanent deal at the end of the season.
A Villa source has told Football Insider that it is far from certain the club will do so as they continue to weigh up the cost of the deal and whether it is worth pursuing.
Manager Dean Smith is said to be in a “quandary” over the England international as he does not have a recognised position and the team have a better winning record when he doesn’t play.
The Villa boss is struggling to fit attacking midfielder Barkley into a team structure and there is a feeling from the coaching staff he is a “luxury” player.
It would take a club-record fee to prise the 27-year-old from parent club Chelsea in the summer.
The asking price is around the £35m mark, more than the £28m plus add-ons paid for Ollie Watkins in the last summer window.
Smith has spoken of his admiration of Barkley this season and named him in the starting XI for 14 of the team’s 24 Premier League matches.
But he was dropped for last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Leeds United at Elland Road following eight consecutive league starts.
The source added that Barkley will need to produce a consistent run of “special” performances between now and the end of the season to seal a permanent Villa move.
He has made 17 appearances in all competitions for the Midlands giants, which have yielded four goals and one assist.
Barkley, who has 33 England caps, joined Chelsea in January 2018 from boyhood club Everton.