Everton manager Ronald Koeman appears to have softened his stance on want-away midfielder and Tottenham Hotspur target Ross Barkley. Speaking in a press conference ahead of their opening match against Stoke City, Koeman said that Everton haven’t received any formal offers for Barkley, and as of now he could still have a future with the Toffees.
“Of course I expected to have offers on the table for Ross. He made the decision not to sign a new contract.
“But okay, if there is no interest at the moment then he will stay and be part of the team, finally the best XI will start for the game.
“I respect every personal ambition of every player. He is still training with Everton, he is part of the team, he is training in a good way, is back from groin surgery and we will check what happens in the next couple of weeks.
“The player has one year left on his contract and if there is no offer or maybe the club doesn't accept the offer...
“He is a really good young English player, and of all the valuations we have seen the last few weeks about players, if somebody likes to buy Ross then it's a big deal.
“I don't have any update (over his future) and there is no offer on the table for Ross. That means he will stay at Everton now, but what will happen in the coming weeks I don't know.”
Of course, “no offer on the table” does not mean that the two clubs are not actively negotiating. There’s enough smoke in the air surrounding this transfer that I think Spurs are just wanting to come to some sort of pre-agreement before submitting a formal bid.
It wasn’t too long ago that Koeman said that it was “100% certain” that Barkley was going to leave the club for... somewhere, and we probably shouldn’t read too much into him apparently walking back from those earlier comments. Barkley just returned to training after having minor surgery in the summer, and Koeman’s comments might have more with regaining some sort of negotiation leverage than suggesting that he might actually have a future in Merseyside.
I don’t think this really changes anything. Koeman still is willing to let Barkley go, Spurs still probably want him, and the negotiations will probably go down to the last days of the window. Nothing really to see here, moving along.