ASTON VILLA are set to offer Ross Barkley a permanent deal at Villa Park, according to reports.
The England international is on a season-long loan at the Birmingham club from Premier League big boys Chelsea and has flourished since swapping London for the Midlands.
And the midfielder's fine displays this season have reportedly prompted the Villa brass to weigh up securing his services on a permanent basis.
According to 90Min, Villa are eager to maintain the fruitful partnership Barkley has formed with Jack Grealish.
It's claimed the Villans will have to shatter their record transfer fee to prise Barkley from the clutches of Chelsea, who reportedly have a £40million asking price for the 27-year-old.
Barkley's future looked set to lie away from Stamford Bridge under the recently-sacked Frank Lampard, although it's unclear if new Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel plans to make use of him.
Since joining Villa last September, Barkley has showcased the form that prompted Chelsea to splash out £15million to sign him in January 2018.
Despite only scoring four goals and providing one assist in 12 appearances, the former Everton man has been instrumental in Villa's success this season.
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Villa boss Dean Smith has been delighted with Barkley's contributions this campaign but believes his best is yet to come.
Speaking after Barkley grabbed the match-winner in Villa's 1-0 victory over Southampton last month, he said: “Ross is not 100 per cent yet, he is still getting there.
“He has actually played more match minutes than he has training minutes over the last 12 weeks.
“He missed out because we were all in self-isolation.
"He was back to fitness but we couldn’t do any group training because there was no-one to train with.
"He is happy to get his fitness back during matches.
“He got 90 minutes on Saturday and is getting better and better. It was a great header.”
Barkley and his Villa team-mates will be back in action on Saturday, travelling to the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton.
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