Football: Everton's Barkley a good prospect for Chelsea, says Conte

Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates a goal with team mates.
Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates a goal with team mates. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - England international Ross Barkley would be a good addition to the Chelsea squad, manager Antonio Conte said on Friday (Jan 5) after media reports the Everton midfielder had undergone a medical.

"We are talking about an English player and a young player - he is a good prospect for Chelsea. Good opportunity for the club to buy this player..." Conte said at his weekly news conference.

Barkley has yet to feature for Everton this season as he recovers from a long-term hamstring injury, having turned down a move to the Premier League champions in the close season, according to the Merseyside club's majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

"He's very young. I think he has a lot of space for improvement... He's strong physically and had good technique," added Conte.

"It's important to understand about when he can recover from his injury. This player has not played for seven months. If this player signs for the club we must have patience and help him recover quickly.

"I think if there is news the club will inform you. This is the right way."

The 24-year-old, who missed just two league games last campaign, is out of contract at Everton at the end of the season.

Conte dismissed reports of his own departure from Stamford Bridge, saying that the speculation was part and parcel of being a top manager.

"I think that we are reading a lot of stories about myself this season. As you know very well, this is the history here and I'm here to try and work and do my best," the Italian added.

"This season there is a lot of speculation but it is normal. When you are an important coach this is your life."

The Italian also believes that striker Alvaro Morata was an adequate replacement for Diego Costa and backed the former Real Madrid man to improve further and become "one of the best in the world".

Struggling defender David Luiz could return to action for Chelsea for the first time since November when Conte's side travel to Norwich City in the FA Cup on Saturday.