It’s the story that has been bubbling away throughout the summer. In the background of all the solid work Everton have done, the question has loomed large; “what about Ross?” Each of our exciting attacking signings has been tinged with musings from pundits and fans alike on whether “this could be the end of Ross Barkley at Goodison Park.”
The truth of the matter really is that the end of Ross Barkley at Goodison Park has been taken out of The Club’s hands, with the player refusing to sign a new contract at the close of last season. Advised by Paul Martin, agent of former Everton player John Stones, Barkley appears to have decided that his future lies elsewhere and no doubt both Martin and Barkley were expecting a summer-long bidding war to ensue. No such luck.
Barkley it would seem, now finds himself in a state of limbo, having apparently burned his bridges with the club, most notably manager Ronald Koeman, who’s brutally honest assessments of the player seem to have rubbed him the wrong way (lending a little less credibility to the notion that he is “ready for a new challenge”).
So what are the options available to Ross Barkley as things currently stand?
OPTION 1 – Stay at Everton long term
This option would require Barkley to consume some serious humble pie and sign the dotted line on a new four or five year deal with The Blues. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely to happen as it appears that the relationship between Barkley and Koeman has suffered irreparable Damage. The Dutchman’s no nonsense approach to post match player appraisals whilst no doubt well intended, has tended to highlight the frustration Koeman feels when Barkley fails to deliver with the consistency the manager expects. Personally, I don’t think the desire exists on either side to keep Barkley at the club beyond this season. Particularly given the success the Toffees have enjoyed in the current transfer window.
OPTION 2 – Move in the current window
As mentioned earlier in this article, the interest from so-called bigger clubs hasn’t exactly been forthcoming this summer. Perhaps they are waiting for the final few days of the window to test Everton’s resolve. More realistically though, the elite clubs seem unconvinced on Barkley’s ability to consistently deliver at the highest level. Tottenham, we are lead to believe have shown some Firm(ish) interest, but in a world cup year could Ross afford to play 2nd fiddle to the likes of Alli and Eriksen at Spurs? I would expect there to be a late flurry of interest at the eleventh hour, but that’s more likely to come from mid-table sides eyeing a last-minute bargain. Certainly not the upward step Barkley is hoping for.
OPTION 3 – See out his contract.
This I feel, is the best and most likely option for Barkley himself, and arguably The Club’s best option too, as it would allow them to retain the services of their second top scorer from last season for one more year. As discussed previously, we are entering a World Cup season, so it would be very much in Ross’ interest to get his head down and have a good season, particularly if he has any intention of working his way into Gareth Southgate’s starting line up. This option gives Ross a chance to truly take his destiny into his own hands. If he proves he has what it takes on a regular basis, he will force himself into firstly Koeman’s plans for the season, and then Southgate’s World Cup squad. Impress there and the elite will soon come calling. Of course with a season like that under his belt, Everton in the top four and Koeman convinced, surely Everton’s would be the first offer on the table?
-Rob ( @RobbyFaux )