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Which Everton midfielder have Chelsea lined up for summer swoop?

With the sale of Juan Mata close to completion, Blues manager Jose Mourinho is set to hold back some of his kitty for a close season move for Ross Barkley.

Juan Mata's move from Chelsea to Manchester United looks like it will be concluded swiftly, with the Spaniard pencilled in for a medical tomorrow ahead of a reputed £37m move to the reigning Premier League champions but the Blues are already being linked with potential replacements.

The Daily Telegraph write that while Chelsea recognise their chances of snaring Barkley from Goodison Park in January is slim, there is a distinct possibility that a summer switch could be on.

Either way, the Liverpudlian is currently out with a broken toe and is expected to be out for the foreseeable future. Chelsea have reportedly switched their attentions to Basel star Mohamed Salah, who impressed and scored twice against the Blues in this year's Champions League group stage.

Everton, on their part, are hoping to sit down with Barkley and attempt to convince the 20-year-old his future remains on Merseyside but the Toffees' academy graduate's contract only runs until the summer of 2016.

Mata's departure would certainly be softened by securing one of England's brightest talents, even if it is not until the end of this season while the £37m deal means Mourinho has freed up an attacking midfield slot whilst also leaving himself a relatively clear path to Barkley, with United's former Everton boss David Moyes unlikely to go for his former prodigy now he has secured such a marquee addition.

Manchester City may move in should Barkley agitate for a move but it is understood he is happy at Everton after Roberto Martinez unleashed him on the Premier League in what has been a breakthrough campaign for Barkley.

But with Chelsea armed with a reinforced transfer budget, a big bid and contract offer may be enough to sway either party and tempt the precocious young talent to Stamford Bridge.

Is Barkley the player Chelsea need to replace the outgoing Mata?

image: © bensutherland

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