Today it was announced that Aston Villa had completed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan for the rest of the season.

The Englishman, who joined the west London outfit in January 2018, has struggled to make a significant impact at the side, mostly restricted to substitute cameos, due to the depth in quality of the The Blues’ central midfield.

However, at Villa, he will arguably be one of their best players and provide a much-needed boost in the heart of midfield, a sentiment that Villa manager Dean Smith echoed.

Speaking to Aston Villa’s website, Smith said, “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.”

Aston Villa prospects

Having survived relegation on the final day of last season, the side will be hoping to avoid a similar scare this term and push for a higher finish in their second season back in the English top-flight.

They have already started this campaign in perfect fashion, winning their opening two league matches with clean sheets.

Barkley’s acquisition will add further creativity in the form of goals and assists to a side that had the fourth-worst attacking record from the teams that remained in the league last campaign (41 goals).

Unlike at Chelsea, where competition for places is significantly higher, Villa will provide Barkley with the platform to express himself with more freedom on the pitch, without the fear of ejection.

With 202 top-flight appearances for Everton and Chelsea, he will also be one of Villa’s most Premier League-experienced players among their current contingent.

Ulterior England motive?

The spell, if successful, could potentially help his cause of achieving an England call-up for next summer’s European Championship.

He has scored and assisted 11 times respectively overall for Chelsea. He is a player that makes instinctive runs into the penalty area from cut-backs, likes to take players on, and isn’t afraid to shoot from-range, similar to that off Villa skipper and now new teammate Jack Grealish.

Alongside Grealish, who recently earned his England debut, Barkley could create an English midfield pairing to be reckoned with in the league, and provide food for thought for Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

Barkley has already scored on his only start this campaign, and despite it coming against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup, it will provide him with confidence to get further goals this season, which bodes well for Villa and potentially England too.

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