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21st Mar, 2017 | 11:13am

Three ways Tottenham could line up if they sign Ross Barkley this summer

COMMENT By Matt Farr

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is set to be the subject of an intense transfer battle in the summer, with several Premier League clubs interested in his services.

The Daily Mail claim Tottenham are now the frontrunners to sign the 23-year-old England ace, ahead of rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

However, Mauricio Pochettino will not be willing to make too many changes to a system, one that has brought tremendous success this season, just to accommodate Barkley.

But the Everton star would be a decent addition to the White Hart Lane ranks, and Football Insider reveals three ways he could fit in to the Tottenham starting eleven.

Barkley on the right in 4-2-3-1

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Pochettino has recently deployed a system with three central defenders and two attacking wing-backs, but Barkley’s potential arrival could see him revert to a back four.

Barkley offers Pochettino several options due to his versatile nature, and one option is to deploy him on the right-hand side of an attacking-three.

Given the success of Dele Alli in a central role this season, Barkley would find it difficult to find a regular role in his favoured central attacking-midfield position.

But he has also impressed from a wider position for Everton this term, contributing one goal and two assists from his five appearances in the role.

His introduction alongside Alli and Christian Eriksen would likely see one of senior duo Erik Lamela and Son Heung-Min omitted from the starting eleven.

Barkley deep in 3-4-3

This is the formation that Tottenham have used to great effect in recent weeks, but it would be difficult to fit Barkley in this system in his best role.

That could see Barkley deployed in a deeper central-midfield role, but that would mean dropping one of either Victor Wanyama or Mousa Dembele, who have both been very impressive.

He is capable of playing there, but in this system it could restrict his freedom and creativity, and that could see him suffer.

Barkley would thrive in a similar role to Alli, but Tottenham would see the latter as the most effective in the attacking role.

Barkley tucked inside in narrow 4-2-3-1

A third possible way to integrate Barkley effectively into the Tottenham starting eleven is if Pochettino deployed a narrow variation of the 4-2-3-1 formation.

That could see Eriksen, Alli and Barkley take up attacking midfield roles, but each player would have an individual role in the attack, tasked with different responsibilities and movement.

But despite prioritising a short passing game in the central areas, Tottenham would not be completely devoid of width, with any one of the three able to move out wide.

Plus, there would be support from full-backs Rose and Walker, who would overlap Eriksen and Barkley on the outside.

In other Tottenham news, Alan Smith has picked his combined England and Germany XI, comparing this Spurs ace to his German attacking rival.

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