Earlier in the week reports emerged that Everton midfielder Ross Barkley apparently left training in pain and clutching his hamstring, and that the club was evaluating whether or not he had injured himself severely. According to the Daily Mail, that’s exactly what he’s done.
Simon Jones writes that Barkley, one of Tottenham Hotspur’s top transfer targets in this summer’s window, sustained a Grade 3 tear of his hamstring, and that he could miss at least six weeks, putting his long-awaited transfer on the shelf.
So, first thing’s first: this is a Daily Mail report, which means it’s not exactly the most well-sourced of articles. That’s borne out out in a couple of ways. First: there hasn’t been any formal announcement from Everton. Sky Sports reports that no decision has been made on his future, and that they’re still awaiting results of his scans to determine the extent of his injury. Here’s Ronald Koeman in a press conference:
"He stopped training last Monday. It looks like a hamstring injury but we need to do more tests today and tomorrow to know exactly what the injury is. We need to wait.”
Secondly, there’s a bit of a disconnect here between what the Mail reports as a “grade 3 tear” and the six-week recovery time, because while we’re not doctors, grade 3 tears typically have a much longer recovery period.
Timeframes for rehabilitation and return to sport vary depending on the nature and severity of the strain. As a general rule, Grade 1 hamstring strains should be rested from sporting activity for about three weeks and Grade 2 injuries for a minimum of four to eight weeks. In the case of a complete rupture (Grade 3 strain), the muscle may have to be repaired surgically and the rehabilitation to follow will take about three months.
So either the Mail is wrong about the severity of Barkley’s injury, or they’re wrong about how long it’ll take for him to recover. Either way, great job Daily Mail. What does seem clear is that Barkley has some sort of hamstring injury, and that he’s likely to be out for an extended period of time. And that means that he’s probably staying at Everton past August.
While Tottenham hasn’t commented publicly on Barkley’s injury, it seems especially unlikely that they would continue to try and push through a transfer before the end of the month, not least because there’s literally no way he would be able to pass a physical. That’s bad for Everton, who were holding out hopes that Spurs would cave and pay something closer to their initial £50m valuation for the attacking midfielder, despite Barkley being in the last year of his contract.
Instead, what could happen is that Spurs might table their bid for Barkley this summer and move on to other targets, but then return to him in the January window. That might give Daniel Levy even more leverage to issue a cut-rate price for him. £10m for a Ross Barkley coming off of a hamstring injury sounds about right, don’t you think?