Chelsea spending set to hit £200m mark as club close in on Ross Barkley

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Chelsea are set to take their season's spending past the £200m mark after making a £15m bid for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley.

The England international is believed to be in London to negotiate terms with the reigning Premier League champions, despite having turned them down last summer.

Barkley opted against leaving Everton while carrying a hamstring injury that has forced him to sit on the sidelines so far this season.

Yet the 24-year-old, nearing a return to fitness, is now expected to complete a move to Chelsea who have not dropped their interest in him.

Blues boss Antonio Conte has already been granted licence to spend more money in a single season than any of his predecessors, having forked out £185m on new players this summer including a club record fee of £58m on Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea also spent £30m on Antonio Rudiger, £40m on Tiemoue Bakayoko, £23m on Davide Zappacosta and £35m on Danny Drinkwater.

A £15m deal for Barkley would see Chelsea hit the £200m mark on transfer expenditure, only the second club after Manchester City this year to have done so.

Barkley has rejected a new deal at Everton, who he joined as an 11-year-old in 2005, with his current contract due to expire at the end of this season.

He will be eligible to play for Chelsea in both the Champions League and Premier League.

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