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BARKLEY: BALONEY OR BANG-ON?

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TRANSFER windows always have the ability to throw in a surprise name from left field.

Ross Barkley to Celtic is this summer’s bewildering addition to the list of imponderables.

The speculation of the 28-year-old England international midfielder teaming up with Ange Postecoglou’s squad has been bubbling away for some considerable time.

So-called “informed” reports from across the border reckon Barkley, who still has a year of a lucrative deal to run at Chelsea, is heading north to join the champions.

Amid the confusion there is one certainty – the former Everton star, who won the last of his 33 caps three years ago, has no future at Stamford Bridge and manager Thomas Tuchel apparently has not even bothered to register him in his first-team squad for this season.

WILL HE STAY OR WILL HE GO? Ross Barkley is in the middle of transfer conjecture.

So, Barkley can remain in London, see out his contract and pick up a fortune while doing nothing – or he can follow the likes of Joe Hart who quit Spurs in a £1million three-year switch in August last year to resurrect his career in Glasgow.

One of the most recent links state that the Parkhead club have already slapped in a bid for the one-time goalscoring middle-of-the park performer.

It doesn’t mention just how much Celtic would be willing to pay for Barkley who will be able to talk to interested clubs in January and leave for free at the end of next May.

Or Chelsea could cut their losses and scrap his contract, as the Hoops did with former striker Leigh Griffiths in January after Dundee exercised an option in his temporary transfer to return the ex-Scotland international early.

Sifting through the conjecture, the one thing that is abudantly obvious is that Postecoglou doesn’t really need another attacking midfielder.

FINAL FAREWELL…Tom Rogic with Ange Postecoglou in the midfielder’s last game for Celtic in the 6-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead on May 14.

He allowed Tom Rogic, only a year older than Barkley, to leave at the end of last season and the Australian playmaker was perfectly suited for that pivotal role.

Reo Hatate will be back from injury soon while Matt O’Riley and David Turnbull have been impressive in the three league wins over Aberdeen, Ross County and Kilmarnock.

So, is the Barkley for Celtic story a load of baloney? Or is it bang on the money?

There are only 16 days left in this transfer window. We will all know soon enough.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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