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Barkley undergoes physical in Chelsea

Mohamed Salah

But now it looks like Everton playmaker Ross Barkley could become Chelsea's second signing of the January transfer window.

Chelsea have all but clinched the signing of Everton attacking midfielder and long-term target Ross Barkley for the region of around £15m if reports in English media are to believed.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce had confirmed on Thursday that Barkley's departure from Merseyside is just a matter of when, not if.

Barkley turned down a move to Chelsea on transfer deadline day in August.

The Toffees boss declared: "The club was resigned to losing Ross before I got here".

Do you think Chelsea need a player like Barkley?

Barkley, 24, hasn't played a minute of football for his boyhood club this season and his contract was due to expire in six months' time, meaning he could leave on a Bosman.

He said in his press conference, "I would expect there would be sometime in this window if there is going to be any interest from some of the big boys".

Barkley nearly joined the reigning Premier League champions last summer but decided against the transfer deadline day switch at the last minute.

Chelsea thought they had captured Barkley in the summer transfer window, only for the vaunted England worldwide to have a last-minute change of heart and renege on a £35m move to west London.

Conte wants more players to strengthen what he considers a "small" squad - especially with Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Premier League trophies still technically up for grabs.