BIRMINGHAM, England — Chelsea began the process of trimming its squad after a record spending spree by loaning England midfielder Ross Barkley to Aston Villa for the rest of the season on Wednesday.
Barkley was facing limited playing time at Chelsea after the arrival of attacking midfielders Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, with Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also providing competition.
The 26-year-old Barkley has started just 28 Premier League games since arriving from Everton in 2018 and sees a move to Villa helping his chances of remaining in the plans of England coach Gareth Southgate ahead of next year’s European Championship.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been stop-start — performing well and then being out of the team,” Barkley said.
“To come here and have the chance to play and perform regularly is a big thing for me. With the Euros at the end of the season, it’s a big target for me and hopefully I can be there.”
Chelsea has spent around $300 million on new players for this season.
Promoted Fulham signed English forward Ademola Lookman from Champions League semifinalist Leipzig on a season-long loan.
Leipzig signed Lookman from Everton last year and had earlier had him on loan for a successful, if brief, spell in 2017-18. Lookman had only occasional game time on his return to Leipzig last season, though, making 13 appearances across all competitions and only playing the full 90 minutes once.
Lookman said on the Fulham website he thought the loan would work well because he and Fulham coach Scott Parker are both “young and hungry.” Lookman adds more depth to Fulham's attack as it seeks its first points since returning to the Premier League, following defeat in its opening three league games.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The Associated Press