Ross Barkley began his loan stint at Aston Villa with great performances and rave reviews, but a hamstring injury in November ruled him out for a couple months, and he’s not been able to perform to those initial levels ever since. He’s failed to start Villa’s last seven Premier League matches in a row, making five substitute appearances during that time, and it’s become quite evident that manager Dean Smith is not interested in making his loan move a more permanent arrangement for next year.
So what’s next for the now 27-year-old midfielder? He will have two more years left on his Chelsea contract after this season, but it doesn’t look like there’s a place for him in Thomas Tuchel’s squad, just as there wasn’t in Frank Lampard’s.
According to recent reports, starting with the Telegraph, West Ham United are “emerging” as a “likely” option for Barkley, either on loan or perhaps something involving an actual transfer fee, especially if the Hammers can finish in either the Champions League or Europa League places. West Ham boss David Moyes gave Barkley his debut way back in 2011, and tipped him for greatness, and while that prediction hasn’t quite come to fruition, a mutually beneficial reunion could be on the cards.