Arsenal legend Paul Merson has heaped praise on Chelsea reject and Luton Town star Ross Barkley, suggesting the Englishman can be in the running for the Premier League Player of the Season award.
Paul Merson Says Chelsea Flop Ross Barkley Has Been Expressing Himself At Luton
Impressed with Barkley’s performances at Everton, Chelsea splurged €16.8 million ($18.1 million) to bring him to Stamford Bridge in January 2018. The talented English midfielder, however, failed to hit the ground running for the Pensioners and soon became an afterthought. After two-and-a-half seasons, Barkley joined Aston Villa on a season-long loan. He returned to west London in May 2021 but Chelsea did not find much use for him.
After keeping him on the bench for most of the 2021-22 season, Chelsea severed ties with him in August 2022. Before his exit, Barkley played 100 games for the club in all competitions, scoring 12 times and providing 11 assists.
Following a promising season at OGC Nice, Barkley returned to the Premier League with Luton in August 2023. He has been the newly promoted side’s standout performer thus far, pitching in with three goals and three assists in 17 Premier League outings.
In his Sky Sports column, Merson lauded Barkley for expressing himself at Luton, backing him to have a go at the Premier League Player of the Season award.
The former England international wrote (via The Daily Mail):
“Ross Barkley is not far off player of the season. He’s turned it around.
“When he went to Chelsea from Everton, I thought it was a good signing. But he didn’t play in the same way, he played too safe and that wasn’t him. He was bought because he can pass and dribble. He’s gone back to expressing himself. He’s been outstanding.”
Who Are Some Of The Other Contenders For Player Of The Season Award?
Last season, Manchester City goalmachine Erling Haaland took home the Premier League Player of the Season award after netting an astonishing 36 times in 35 league matches. The Norwegian has hit the ground running this year as well, scoring 14 goals and providing four assists in 16 games so far. If he can keep this up, he could clinch his second POTS award in as many seasons in England.
Haaland’s teammate Phil Foden is also in the running for the award. The versatile England international has scored five times and provided seven assists in 21 Premier League matches so far. He produced his best performance in Monday night’s 3-1 win over Brentford, scoring the second hat-trick of his Premier League career.
Of course, we cannot forget about Liverpool hero Mohamed Salah. The Egypt international has scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in 20 matches, emerging as the division’s leader in goal contributions. Had it not been for his timely goals and assists, the Reds would not have been sitting at the top of the Premier League rankings this season.