Aston Villa closing on deal to sign Ross Barkley from Luton

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Ross Barkley;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Ross Barkley</a> has excelled at <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Luton;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Luton</a> after joining on free when his contract at Nice expired. </span><span>Photograph: Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Images</span>

Aston Villa are closing on a deal to re-sign Ross Barkley on a permanent basis, four years after the midfielder joined on loan from Chelsea. Villa want to strengthen their squad for their first season in the Champions League or European Cup since 1982-83.

The 30-year-old, capped by England 33 times, excelled for Luton when joining on a free last summer, after a spell in Ligue 1 with Nice. Luton, who have been relegated, never disclosed the length of Barkley’s contract but it is thought to run into next season. Last month, Barkley said: “I want to play in the Premier League. I want to play in Europe again … I feel like for the next three years maybe I’ll still be in my prime years.”

Related: Premier League 2023-24 review: signings of the season

The arrival of Barkley for a modest fee would represent shrewd business and a similar low-risk deal to when Villa signed Youri Tielemans at the end of his Leicester contract. Barkley has also been linked with Manchester United. Villa want two midfielders, a full-back and a forward. They are among the clubs interested in signing Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

Villa need to be wary of profitability and sustainability rules despite the windfall from qualifying for the Champions League. For their latest accounts, covering 2022-23, Villa posted a £119.6m loss. Offloading Philippe Coutinho, who spent last season on loan in Qatar with Al-Duhail, will be among their main tasks. They may also have to consider serious offers for Jacob Ramsey, their homegrown midfielder.

Villa confirmed a multi-year kit deal with Adidas on Monday. In September, Villa complained to their supplier Castore about the quality of their shirts after players reported their concerns. Villa’s president of business, Chris Heck, said the partnership with Adidas was part of a drive to “position ourselves consistently among the top football clubs globally”.