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Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley has joined fellow Premier League side Aston Villa on a season-long loan for the 2020-21 campaign.

The England international, capped 33 times for his country at senior level, moved to Stamford Bridge from Everton in January 2018 but has since found himself on the fringes of the first-team squad.

Villa manager Dean Smith told the club’s official website: “Capturing a player of Ross’s quality is a real coup for our club and I am certain he will thrive here and improve our team.”

Barkley broke onto the Premier League scene as a teenager at Everton, scoring 27 goals from midfield in 179 appearances for the Toffees.

His dynamic style of play marked him out as one of England’s most promising young players, however, injury and loss of form have meant he has impressed only sporadically since moving to Stamford Bridge.

Barkley has fallen down the pecking order for the Blues, with Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic now ahead of him in Frank Lampard’s plans, and he has been allowed to depart on loan.

The 26-year-old has scored 11 goals in 86 appearances for Chelsea, the most recent coming in the 6-0 victory over Barnsley in the Carabao Cup last week. He helped the Blues to Europa League victory in 2019, scoring in the semi-final penalty shoot-out win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Barkley will not be available for Villa in their Carabao Cup clash with Stoke City on Thursday as he is cup-tied, but he could make his debut at the weekend in the Premier League meeting with champions Liverpool.

He is the latest player to depart Chelsea on loan and is the fourth to go to a Premier League rival, after Ethan Ampadu to Sheffield United, Michy Batshuayi to Crystal Palace and Conor Gallagher to West Brom.

A total of 21 players have left Chelsea on a temporary basis this summer, and several more are expected to depart before the transfer window closes on October 5.

They have been replaced at Stamford Bridge by several big-money signings, including Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy, while Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr have come in on free transfers.

Villa have been equally busy as they look to avoid another relegation scrap having only stayed in the Premier League on the final day of the 2019-20 season.

Barkley joins former Chelsea winger Bernard Traore at Villa Park, as well as ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and acquisitions from the Championship in Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins.

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September 30, 2020
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