The past week has been a hugely successful one for Chelsea, as they reiterated they credentials not only as Premier League title contenders, but also as potential defenders of their Champions League crown.
Thomas Tuchel’s side travelled to Leicester City on Saturday lunchtime and left the West Midlands with three points after a convincing 3-0 victory over the Foxes, a result that ensured they stayed three points clear at the top of the table.
On Tuesday, they followed that up with a perhaps even more impressive performance, running out 4-0 victors over Italian giants Juventus at Stamford Bridge.
The result meant the Blues leapfrogged Juve and are now in command in Group H, likely setting up a favourable tie in the last 16.
Tuesday’s performance would have been particularly pleasing for Tuchel, as a number of thee club’s academy graduates impressed and three of them scored.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James were all on the scoresheet for the Blues, while Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were all both involved in what was arguably Chelsea’s best performance of the season so far.
While supporters and Tuchel were both left purring at the performances of Chelsea’s young stars, the academy graduates’ performances are less pleasing for the club’s out of favour players.
Ross Barkley, who was a forgotten man at the club last term, has enjoyed something of a mini-resurgence of late, but the Englishman failed to get onto the pitch on Tuesday as Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez were both substituted on ahead of him.
The 33-time England international’s career at Stamford Bridge looked to be all but over last season as he was loaned to Aston Villa, but the 27-year-old has now featured in seven of Chelsea’s last 11 games across all competitions.
Now, the midfielder could be handed the opportunity to further his progress, with Leeds United reportedly interested in taking him on a six-month loan deal in January, as per the Express.
The report states that Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa is interested in taking Barkley on a short-term deal, in a bid to solve the midfield problems that have hindered his side this term.
Leeds have won just twice all season and their problems were epitomised by Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, as midfielder Kalvin Phillips, having impressed during a successful first half for Leeds, was moved into a defensive role and Spurs ultimately emerged victorious.
The Yorkshire side signed former Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate in the summer, although the youngster is yet to appear in the top flight for the club, and Bielsa is now hoping that the 19-year-old all be joined by his former Blues teammate.
While it is not yet known whether or not Chelsea would allow Barkley to leave, it is believed that a number of other clubs are interested in the player, so Leeds would have to move swiftly if they were to finalise a deal.