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Do Chelsea still want Barkley after signing Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Spurs only rival in Barkley stakes could drop out

Arsenal v Everton - FA Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It’s looking Premier League defending champions Chelsea are edging ever closer to signing Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. As is being reported by Sky Sports, the two clubs have reached an agreement over the versatile player who can play multiple positions across the lineup.

While no fee has been mentioned yet, a number in the £35m range has been bandied about. Manager Antonio Conte has been reported as looking for various players to beef up his squad with Champions League football to add to the schedule.

Per The Mail, ‘Ox’ held last-ditch talks with Arsenal last week, but turned down the club’s final contract offer of £180,000-a-week, triggering the talks between the two London clubs.

This news is doubly important for Everton, because for one it could play a determining factor on who the remaining suitors are for Ross Barkley, and also set the price range that the England international would be sold at.

The Mail are also reporting that Barkley will still leave the Blues during this transfer window despite being out until at least December after having surgery to repair his torn hamstring.

Conflicting reports last week had Chelsea interested in signing Barkley (Guardian), but apparently Conte was not interested (Express) in the Wavertree-born forward who sustained the injury in training.

If indeed the Oxlade-Chamberlain news is true and takes Chelsea out of the reckoning for Barkley, that would leave Tottenham Hotspur as his original and longest lasting suitor still on the market, and possibly Arsenal back in for him to replace in some way the departing Oxlade-Chamberlain.