Chelsea’s latest transfer deal for Ross Barkley from Everton could come under scrutiny after the mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson – who is a lifelong Everton fan – asked England’s FA to look into the matter. Barkley joined Chelsea on January 5 for a reported £15m fee, however a little over four months ago Everton rejected a significantly higher bid for the midfielder of around £35m, according to The Guardian and other online sportsbook news.
Could unfair competition be at play here?
According to Liverpool’s mayor, the transfer “could be seen as a deliberate attempt to drive down a player’s value in the transfer market so as to benefit the player, his agent and the buying club.”
On deadline day in last summer’s transfer window, Chelsea tabled a £35m bid for the now 24-year-old midfielder, but the board of the Goodison Park side opted to keep hold of their star player, perhaps hoping they can get much more for services in the near future, considering the market climate of players’ transfer fees.
“I believe the circumstances of his transfer now warrants serious investigation,” said Anderson in his letter to the FA. “There seems to me to be at least a public perception that collusion has taken place. While that may not be the case, it is in your interest this is at least looked at to reassure fans transfers will be monitored more closely and no individuals are benefiting inappropriately.”
Sell the player now, or lose him for nothing in six months time
Having the mayor of your city as a supporter of your club (Everton) is a good thing, apparently… (source: Liverpool Vision)
A £20m cut than what the Stamford Bridge side offered just a few months ago is not really suspicious, as anyone with some knowledge about football and the way transfers work between clubs, knows these sort of deals are not uncommon. As a comparison, in the summer of 2011 Chelsea tabled an unsuccessful £40m bid for then Tottenham maestro Luka Modric, only for him to sign for Real Madrid for £33m merely a year later.
A number of factors can easily dictate the terms of the transfer fee paid for a player: his age, current form, star status, position on the pitch, length of contract, injuries, discipline and so on. With Barkley having only six months remaining on his contract, it makes sense that Everton decided to sell him at least for something, instead of losing him for nothing in the summer.
Barkley could make his debut for the Blues against Leicester City
After 22 rounds in the English top flight, Antonio Conte’s men are 3rd in the league with 46 points, and if it were not for both Man City and Man United – sides that occupy 1st and 2nd spots on the table, respectively – Chelsea would have been leading. But with Man City still going hard and undefeated (20 wins and only 2 losses) we don’t see the Blues overtaking them anytime soon, especially with online sportsbooks in UK strongly favouring Pep Guardiola’s side to clinch the league title this season.
Chelsea will next face 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a match that should see the hosts seal another 3 points in front of the home support. The Blues have won 8 games at Stamford Bridge until this point, while suffering only 1 draw and 2 losses, so we’re backing them to win against the Foxes, who are in 8th position with 3 losses out of the last 5 matches.