Paul Merson thinks Frank Lampard has made big “mistake” by letting Ross Barkley leave Chelsea for Aston Villa.
The Chelsea midfielder has moved to Villa Park on a season-long after falling down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
The summer arrivals of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, plus the presence of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, left Barkley facing up to a bit-part role.
The 26-year-old has started just 28 Premier League games since arriving from Everton in 2018 and, with the European Championships next year, he wants to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s plans.
However, Merson can’t believe that Lampard gave the green light for “huge talent” Barkley to leave.
“Frank Lampard has made a mistake sending Ross Barkley out on loan because he will be a superstar for Aston Villa,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star.
“What a signing that is. I can’t quite believe it, if I’m honest. How Barkley doesn’t get in the Chelsea team beats me. He is a huge talent.
“To let him go like this, especially to another Premier League team, is a dangerous game by Frank. If Barkley hits the ground running and starts ripping it up for Villa then serious questions will be asked why Lampard let him go.
“Chelsea have already gone out of one of the cups and they have looked hit and miss so far in the league despite spending all that money.
“They are still not defending well and Frank won’t need any extra pressure on him from Ross Barkley tearing things up at Villa Park. Chelsea have loads of midfielders.
“But Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic can’t go past people like Ross Barkley can. I think they are missing a trick letting him go on loan. I’m shocked they’ve let it happen. But it’s a brilliant signing by Villa.”
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