Aston Villa are hoping to give Chelsea a solution to their midfield overload by offering to take either Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan for the season.
New signing Kai Havertz has left Chelsea with no less than eight players to battle it out for available places in Frank Lampard's midfield - Jorginho, Mateo Kovačić, N'Golo Kanté, Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour make up the rest of the group.
There have been numerous reports suggesting that Kanté or Jorginho could be the ones to make way, but moves for either player have failed to materialise. Now, according to The Telegraph, it could be Barkley or Loftus-Cheek.
Villa have identified Barkley as their preferred target, with Dean Smith keen to bring in an attack-minded midfielder before the transfer window closes. However, it is said Chelsea's demand that Barkley's £120,000-a-week wages are paid in full has proven problematic.
Smith is hesitant to pull the trigger on that kind of financial commitment, which has brought Loftus-Cheek's name into discussions. Villa would be interested in the England international, who was surprisingly omitted from Chelsea's squad for Wednesday's 6-0 win over Barnsley.
"The situation with both is that they weren’t in the squad," Frank Lampard said (via Metro) when asked about Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rüdiger's omission from the squad. "I had a similar answer from the other day, they just weren’t in the squad. That is just a choice at the moment."
Loftus-Cheek managed ten appearances last season as he made his long-awaited recovery from a Achilles injury which had kept him sidelined for no less than 13 months.
He started the season opener against Brighton but endured a tough time before being hauled off after the hour mark, and he has not been seen since, prompting rumours that he could be moved on this summer.
There is an acceptance that the 24-year-old needs regular game time as he looks to get back into the swing of things following such a serious injury, but Chelsea's abundance of central midfielders might make that hard to come by at Stamford Bridge right now.
Villa are keen to find some high-profile reinforcements to aid their quest to avoid relegation this season, and they have made it clear that they would be happy to offer either Barkley or Loftus-Cheek a temporary home for the coming year.
Source : 90min