Aston Villa are ‘not yet convinced’ on the permanent signing of Ross Barkley from Chelsea, according to reports.
The attacking midfielder enjoyed a good start to his loan spell at Villa Park, scoring against Liverpool and Leicester.
That led to rumours of a permanent deal as Chelsea gave him a £35million price tag.
According to Football Insider, Villa are yet to be convinced that the 27-year-old is worth that kind of fee.
The report states that it’s far from certain that they will sign him permanently during the summer transfer window.
Villa will continue to monitor his progress and impact on the team.
Manager Dean Smith is thought to be in a ‘quandary’ over the player’s best position and his long term effectiveness.
Barkley’s permanent deal is under threat from the club’s already strong midfield.
They have the likes of Jack Grealish, Douglas Luiz and John McGinn at their disposal.
Morgan Sanson arrived for a £15.5million fee in January.
Barkley was an unused sub in their recent 1-0 victory over Leeds United.
Rather than start with Barkley in attacking midfield, Smith opted for a 4-3-3 formation with attacking wingers.
It’s not clear how Barkley would fit in with this system and whether he would be a success.
Barkley could return to Stamford Bridge at the end of his loan to fight for a place in the first team.
He will have to impress German boss Thomas Tuchel, who can already rely on Kai Havertz and Mason Mount in Barkley’s position.
Villa might be able to pick him up for a reduced fee next season if Chelsea deem him surplus to requirements.
Despite the uncertainty, Barkley did get off to a great start in the first few months of the campaign.
He formed a good relationship with both Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins in attack.
Villa recorded a dominant 7-2 win over reigning champions Liverpool in October, during which Barkley excelled.
The goal involvements have since dried up, however, and his future with Villa is now less clear.