Because I know none of you are sick of the whole Ross Barkley transfer target saga yet, we have another update! Everton manager Ronald Koeman pretty much confirmed what everyone else already knew in comments printed in the Liverpool Echo yesterday, saying that Barkley is “100%” leaving Everton this summer. It’s just that nobody quite knows where he’ll go at this point.
“Yes [Barkley is 100% leaving]. It's really clear. I'm looking to other players, that's my priority and not Ross, with all respect. It is his decision. Everybody knows what the situation is, and that's enough.
“He has one more year left on his contract. We work with respectful people, and if he is back after his injury and is back for training, then he will join in the first-team sessions.”
We already know that Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is an admirer of Barkley and would like to add him to Spurs’ side this summer, but Barkley’s valuation has swung wildly with Everton at one point demanding a £50m transfer fee. Spurs are reportedly waiting out the situation, and with Everton extremely active in the window, Barkley now confirmed as leaving, and the player entering into the last year of his contract, his price is expected to drop eventually.
Koeman, meanwhile, seems to have has given up.
“His personal situation is not so difficult. We made a really good offer to him to sign a new contract. He declined that contract and told me he is looking for a new challenge. He told me after the final game of last season.
“It's not Everton's future any more. It's his decision and I need to respect that and we will see what happens.
“What I've heard from the board is that there isn't an offer on the table for Ross.”
The Echo now says Everton want £30m for Barkley, which still seems really high considering the factors above. Koeman’s comments would seemingly give Daniel Levy additional leverage to get that fee even lower. I’m not a Barkley fan and don’t think we should be adding mediocre players to our Champions League squad, but if Pochettino is determined to get him then signing him for around £20m is at least a little more palatable than £30m.