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Chelsea swoop for Ross Barkley 7 years in the making

Chelsea's swoop for Ross Barkley in 2018 was the culmination of a seven-year scouting project.

The England international moved to Stamford Bridge in January of that year for just £15million, having refused to sign a new contract at Everton.

The Athletic says Chelsea were monitoring Barkley since 2011 when he broke into the Toffees first team.

The Blues recruitment department tracked the playmaker from when he was only 17 years old, immediately identifying him as a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.

Barkley was sent on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds before firmly establishing himself in the Everton starting XI during the 2013/14 season.

And it was at the start of that campaign that Chelsea supposedly made a bid to buy the youngster, with the offer including a loan back to Goodison.

Everton rejected the deal and Barkley instead went on to rack up 179 appearances for the club before refusing to negotiate a new contract in the summer of 2018.

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