No room for sentimentality at Barkley's crossroads

Lyndon Lloyd 13/06/2017  157 Comments  [Jump to last]
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If Claudio Ranieri’s boom-to-bust reign at Leicester City proved to be a spectacular outlier of established footballing norms, an odds-defying dream of a season followed by a dramatic plummet back to earth, Ronald Koeman’s tenure at Everton looks to be following a more typical arc.

His impressive start to life at Goodison Park — five games without a defeat and a four-match winning streak that had the Blues among the early pace-setters — hinted at the possibility of a stunning first campaign but it didn’t take long for the balloon to burst as a difficult autumn saw his charges struggle to live up to the early-season optimism.

Signs that Koeman had got his feet under the table and was starting to get to grips with his squad emerged around Christmas and by the spring, Everton’s impressive home record in 2017 was pointing towards what could be possible under the Dutchman once get gets further down the road of his “project”.

That hugely encouraging return of “Fortress Goodison” couldn’t mask a lack of inspiration away from home and what was, ultimately, a flat end to 2016-17 that left you with the feeling that there was a collective giving up — the players not confident they could overhaul the three teams above them to make the Champions League and the manager seemingly resigned to the fact that he and Steve Walsh are going to have to buy the team they need to compete. There would be no fleeting Ranieri-esque miracles but the slow, measured progress you would normally expect.

Over the season run in, it was inescapable that there is a staleness running right through the squad, one which is ripe for overhaul… or at least there are positions that are simply in need of finally being resolved.

The “No 10” role, the “player in the hole”, the “Ross Barkley position” — call it what you will — has been a source of frustration for years now and Koeman’s admission that he wants to bring more productivity to the squad in time for next season was a response to a depressing lack of creativity and goals from players not named Lukaku in the side at times.

That Barkley himself wasn’t able to grasp the nettle in those final weeks and prove that he could be the Christian Eriksen-style inspiration, guiding light and standard bearer for the side illustrates why there appears to be a curious lack of urgency around his contract situation four weeks after the 2016-17 season ended.

Koeman’s ultimatum that the player make a decision over his future by the end of the season hasn’t prompted an announcement from the club over what the plan is regarding the midfielder and media speculation regarding potential destinations for him should he elect not to extend his contract has gone almost deathly quiet this month.

The uncertainty is strangely symbolic of Barkley himself, a home-grown talent billed as the Academy product most likely to emulate the success of Wayne Rooney but whose progress seems to have stalled just when Everton — and, perhaps, his country as well — needed him to finally flourish into the star his early career hinted he could be.

A cracking goal to kick off the Roberto Martinez era and a starring role in the Spaniard’s often electrifying first season at the Goodison helm, which included a world-class solo effort at Newcastle, suggested that the next Toffee idol had arrived. A call-up to the 2014 World Cup followed but Roy Hodgson’s lack of faith left him kicking his heels on the bench for the most part, as he would two years later at Euro2016.

In between, Barkley showed flashes in a team otherwise moving sideways under Martinez, that he could grow into the kind of midfield fulcrum many envisaged he could be. The former boss experimented with him in wider and deeper roles with mixed success but his eye for goal and technical ability meant that he could always turn heads when he was on his game.

But despite finishing this past season with another six goals in all competitions and more assists than any other English player in the Premier League, Everton were generally left wanting when it came to their reliance on Barkley to be the playmaker and puller of strings in the centre of the park.

In many ways, those huge expectations have sat uneasily on the shoulders of the quiet, unassuming lad from Wavertree who you always thought would be an Everton player for years to come. His passion for the Blues is unquestioned and he could never be accused of hiding when the chips are down — who could forget how devastated he looked to be hooked from the disaster unfolding at Anfield in the last days of Martinez when all he wanted to do was try and drag his team back into the game.

However, at a time when Everton’s aims are focused on the top four and the Champions League, the team needed a player able to lead by example and contribute going forward the way Barkley’s early promise suggested he might and he hasn’t quite been able to fill the role.

He was by no means alone, of course — Kevin Mirallas remains an enigmatic and inconsistent presence; Gerard Deulofeu lost his way under Koeman; and Romelu Lukaku’s goals tally partially obscure an equally frustrating inability to take games by the scruff of the neck and press home his supposedly top-class credentials. But Barkley’s position in that all-important creative central role made his short-comings this season that bit more acute and partially explain his manager’s public criticism of him.

Nevertheless, fans became pensive when he wasn’t among the players who put pen to paper on new deals late last year even if there was a feeling that it would get done at some stage last term; that the boyhood Blue would eventually agree an extension to a contract that runs out next year.

Was there a degree of the club taking a local lad’s love of Everton for granted that is influencing his decision to stall over a new deal? He wants Champions League football, of course, but the argument that that is his primary motivator rings slightly hollow given how few elite-level suitors he seems to have.

Or is there a general indifference from Koeman who had not been reticent when it came to Barkley’s form or his expectations of him as a focal point of the team. Certainly, the dispassionate Dutchman will seek more reliable sources of guile this summer and would be unlikely to stand on ceremony for the 23-year-old regardless of his Blue ties.

Perhaps both factors are at play but, regardless, Barkley finds himself in an awkward position this summer. There was plenty of talk in the media about interest in his services from Tottenham along with Everton putting an outlandish £50m price tag on his head, but studying his form with a cold, analytical eye, it’s hard to see him justifying such a fee or being good enough for Mauricio Pochettino’s excellent Spurs team… or any of the top six, for that matter.

By the same token — and, no doubt, by Koeman’s own assessment — Barkley probably isn’t worth shattering the club’s wage ceiling for in the same way that Lukaku arguably is. If it is true that he has been offered £100,000 a week to stay at the club, many would view that as generous and, perhaps, a reflection of what he means to Evertonian pride at a fellow Blue and home-grown product fulfilling his dream. But he has done very little to justify extending beyond that, if that indeed is what the player himself is hoping given talk of as much as £140,000 being offered to Lukaku.

The apparent impasse or even his refusal to sign new terms — and, again, it’s what we as supporters must assume is the situation given the lack of any news regarding his contract talks — likely leaves Barkley with few options. One would be to wait out the final year of his contract (Koeman won’t counsel that but he may be overruled from above), most likely playing a reduced role in the Everton team should the recruitment team succeed in bringing in the player to provide more ammunition and goals from attacking midfield.

If his relationship with the manager is strained or if he has been wounded by Koeman’s treatment of him, then it’s probably not surprising that he finds himself in two minds at an important juncture of his career.

Given the chance to step out of the spotlight and assume a lesser role at Everton in 2017-18, it’s possible that Ross could re-find himself and his form in time to pen a new deal next summer rather than seek a move elsewhere. Again, there is every possibility that Koeman, needing funds for rebuilding, would refuse and that would make for an uneasy 12 months.

Another option, of course, would be to accept a transfer away from Goodison now to a mid-level outfit like West Ham to try a fresh start away from the hope in — and expectation of — him on Merseyside. It would feel strange to see someone so intrinsically linked with Everton playing in the colours of another club but football is a harsh mistress that often pays no mind to sympathy and romance.

Sentimentality doesn’t win silverware and that makes for an uncomfortable crossroads for the club, the fans and Ross Barkley himself — he either has to take one last chance to prove he can be everything Everton want him to be or seek a new challenge away from Merseyside. There are no easy answers for him but Koeman and Steve Walsh appear to be resolved to addressing the team’s weaknesses regardless – the club's single-minded need to progress means it has to be thus.

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Reader Comments (157)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:27:57
I think young Ross may have painted himself into a corner in so much as nobody seems to be coming in for him. Unless of course these interested clubs are waiting until near the end of the window when Everton's hand may be seen as being weaker.

It will be interesting to see what happens and, to be honest, I can't decide either way what I actually think will happen. He's just as likely to stay as he is to go, IMO.

Peter Laing
2 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:29:08
Nearly as many column inches have been written about the future of Barkley as Lukaku.

I'm of the belief that in continuing with the contract stand-off Ross has cooked his own goose. If it's lead to believe the agent has been hawking his asset around Clubs with not much of a return in the way of potential takers. Koeman will evidently be looking at replacements such as Klaassen and Sigurdsson who will be his own signings rather than a mercurial inheritance in the shape of Barkley.

Even if Barkley does decide to sign, he's undoubtedly tarnished his relationship with the fans due to his perceived lack of commitment and a parting of the ways is probably the best course of action for all concerned.

Trevor Lynes
3 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:49:34
Barkley has been a disappointment. He has flattered to deceive throughout his career with us and his goals tally is poor to say the least. You talk about Lukaku not taking games by the scruff of the neck, well what about Barkley?

When Lukaku was being shackled by defenders, when did Barkley take advantage of the extra space? All the sides we played concentrated on marking Lukaku as he was our only danger up front. Lukaku scored 26 goals from half of the chances that were created for Kane and that is a stat.

Mentioning Barkley's supposed assists as being the best by an English player, that is because all the top sides have foreign play makers. The fact is that in all his time at EFC Barkley has never scored double figures in a season in league matches. He never gets in the box for tap-ins or taking advantage of defensive mistakes. Mirallas is just as bad but he is not refusing to sign a contract.

Barkley has peaked IMO and is now not improving while playing for us. Perhaps he will blossom elsewhere.

Nick Armitage
4 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:52:31
Not good enough in any position for where this club wants to be. The club need to stop arsing around and sell him.
Gavin Johnson
5 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:53:02
Most of us would give our left nut to play for Everton. £100k a week contract on offer at time when the club is on the ascendency should be an absolute no-brainer.

Instead, we have this impasse with Jamie Redknapp acting like Barkley's agent. Has he tapped him up on Spurs behalf?! Tbh, I am indifferent to whether he stays or goes, providing we get £35m+. An unlikely scenario if he's been tapped up by that Spiv, Levy. Spurs will wait until next summer. In that scenario, Barkley should get the Niasse treatment and have to put his kit in a bag in the corner of the U23 dressing room.

The only time I can think of a comparable situation is when McManaman left Liverpool for Real Madrid. I could just about understand that, but if we end up having a scenario where Barkley sits out his contract to join one of our competitors, it would be a kick in the teeth to all Evertonian's IMO.

I hope he pulls his head out of his arse and still signs. He can be a frustrating player but his stats still show an undoubted talent.

James Marshall
6 Posted 13/06/2017 at 22:59:02
I honestly think he'll just be viewed like another Franny Jeffers – talent, but no direction, and no way to channel it.

Tom Bowers
7 Posted 13/06/2017 at 23:07:13
Whilst we really don't know what's going on, except maybe if you are part of Ross's inner circle, the question remains why has he not asked to leave given that he doesn't like the contract terms offered and the ''ultimatum''.

If he stays, he knows he has to improve his all around contribution as other players will be pushing him hard, if not already and one or two new signings on the horizon.

He has bags of talent and watching England perform poorly again today would be a shoe in on his best form.

Seems to me he may have a problem with Koeman as his mind seemed miles away in so many games last season.

Hopefully all will be resolved soon.

Mike Green
8 Posted 13/06/2017 at 23:17:24
I know it's only YouTube but, if we sign Klaassen, I think Barkley's toast. I don't think it's the money with Ross either, I think he's got doubts Everton under Koeman is the best place for him and he's probably right.

Fortune favours the brave, Ross; my advice is, if you're not happy, and I'm pretty sure you're not, move on and good luck.

Gavin Johnson
9 Posted 13/06/2017 at 23:27:25
Mike, would you advocate him leaving on a free next summer?

I can think of instances when players have signed new contracts and are then sold. Craig Short is one Everton player that springs to mind. Everyone's a winner and the lad doesn't tarnish his legacy at the club.

John Pierce
10 Posted 13/06/2017 at 23:59:25
Well, the story rolls on, yet tellingly after 4 weeks of rumours of other players, most poignantly in Barkley's position, little noise from him or the club on his contract.

He clearly hasn't flourished under Koeman and not many creative players have, so rightly he thinks playing time is limited. And yes, players around him didn't help his cause either.

What is most disappointing is the lads lack of perceived fight for his place through some poor performances. Despite the limiting factors above, if Ross was tough enough mentally he would find a way to let his talent push through.

He has shown little appetite for the competition coming his way and that says it all. He stopped me getting of my seat a year or so ago. Whatever the reason, he looks like he's out the door.

The biggest upside is any fee we get for him. This is pure 'trading player profit' as he is academy born, this will go a nice way to increasing our wage bill under FFP rules. And I have to say such as it is, in part, a reason to why the gun was put to his head in the first place.

With all the media talk this week, he has to some extent been forgotten; Everton appear to be moving on, has Ross missed the small ships?

Nigel Johnson
11 Posted 13/06/2017 at 00:24:35
I think Barkley has been sold down the river by his agent. His agent has probably told him that lot's of other clubs are interested in him. Barkley has probably had lot's of conversations with Lukaku about not signing his contract.

One of the reason why I think Koeman is a great manager is because he doesn't have any favourite players and treats all the players in the same way. He appears to be willing to support his players by telling them what he expects from them, willing to sit down with them showing examples on videos, working with them on the training ground and them being strong with them if after all that time and support with them the player still in not doing what he wants.

Barkley has in the past been given far too much carrot approach – now it's a shock to him that Koeman is using the stick. Barkley has to grow up and realise that Koeman is wanting him to be successful; it's more frustrating when a player has all the skills that Barkley has but doesn't use them than it is when a player doesn't have any skills the start with.

Lyndon Lloyd
12 Posted 14/06/2017 at 00:28:02
I'm not sure it's a lack of fight that's the problem, John. As I intimated above, he never hides, always wants the ball and he was rewarded a few times this season with that persistence.

I think his problem is more a psychological block than a lack of spirit or application. He just seems unable to be what he can be on the pitch, hampered by slow decision-making and a tendency to take the wrong option at times.

I've always said he does best when he allows instinct to take over rather than over-thinking things but it's happening less and less as the pressure to perform grows.

Jim Hardin
13 Posted 14/06/2017 at 00:33:16
Get rid of him. Offer some Championship team a potentially creative midfielder who won't generally cause problems at the club, is seemingly likable, but who has no heart or guts for success.
Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 14/06/2017 at 00:41:31
I may be the only one here, but what I think is going to happen is... ...absolutely nothing.

Ross isn't going to sign, nobody's going to come in for him at the price we want, and he's simply going to show up at Finch Farm in the summer ready to play out the final year of his contract.

And what I hope happens then is that he steps up, with a Klaassen or Sigurdsson next to him, and begins to assert the player he can be with the talent he was born with.

John Pierce
15 Posted 14/06/2017 at 01:02:46
Lyndon,

It's a lack of mental fortitude, both in his apparent decision not to sign, by implication hes not up for competing for his place.

On the field, you may have a point and my language is a touch ambiguous, hes had so many chances to take control of a game, especially in the run in and he's not had the inclination or the desire to do so.

Mike T Jones
16 Posted 14/06/2017 at 01:03:59
He isn't good enough to be part of any 'next level' push. You wouldn't worry about him if he played against you for some other team; or at least I wouldn't.
Andrew Keatley
17 Posted 14/06/2017 at 01:39:19
Ross Barkley is not progressing. The penny is not dropping. The club would be better off without him. He dwells on the ball too long. His decision-making is erratic. He does not like competing for headers.

He does have qualities (albeit they come and go unpredictably and infuriatingly) on the ball, he does influence games, and he is capable of the mercurial, but in my opinion he brings at least as many disadvantages to the team/squad/club as he brings advantages.

Move him on. Let the next group of youngsters in.

Anto Byrne
18 Posted 14/06/2017 at 01:41:25
Poor lad should have a mentor in his corner, maybe a Leon Osman or dare I say a Paul Scholes. I would be seeking out a player like Gerrard or at least looking at him as a model to formulate my game. Just what makes these players tick? And yes, I have some ability but it's not helping my cause.

Koeman knows he is a good player and presumably would have him in the squad. At 23, he could grow up and mature into the player we all want. Its a dilemma.

Laurie Hartley
19 Posted 14/06/2017 at 02:10:32
I hope the lad finds a way through this and I certainly hope he doesn't go to a London club. I think that would end up a personal disaster for him.

If he doesn't sign a new contract, I hope Benitez comes in for him. I think Ross could flourish under his management.

William Cartwright
20 Posted 14/06/2017 at 04:00:16
Laurie, I think you could be right. I've always disliked Benitez's style but sensed he has good management skills. Newcastle could do a double and take Ross and McCarthy as well, and become an improved team.

It could also be that Ross is having some personal issues to deal with that are affecting how he deals with the media circus that used to follow him around.

Sentiment or not, I remember the skinhead scouse with attitude who demolished Swansea 3 seasons ago and I miss him.

William Cartwright
21 Posted 14/06/2017 at 04:00:16
Laurie, I think you could be right. I've always disliked Benitez' style but sensed he has good management skills. Newcastle could do a double and take Ross and McCarthy as well, and become an improved team.

It could also be that Ross is having some personal issues to deal with that are affecting how he deals with the media circus that used to follow him around. Sentiment or not, I remember the skinhead scouse with attitude who demolished Swansea 3 seasons ago and I miss him.

Graham Lloyd
24 Posted 14/06/2017 at 05:56:11
Ross is an enigma; he blows hot and cold. He does not have a great relationship with Koeman and he seems to be a bit immature about how to deal with being left out of the side.

I personally would rather let him go and – for the good of the player and Everton Football Club – sell him at a price that gets the deal done.

Ross has been a decent player for us but, as people before me have said, he just lacks the mental steel to move up a level.

I will always wish the lad well and now is the time to let him go.

Peter Barry
25 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:11:48
Barkley's career will follow a familiar pattern for so many other 'nearly men' who when they leave Everton 'rise without trace'.
Alexander Murphy
26 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:23:43
Ross had the Everton world at his talented feet. However, as an Evertonian, the lad must surely have known from an early age that Everton is for life and far beyond. Use this properly and the Royal Blue Legions will both worship and inspire you, fanny around and you are on your own sunshine.

As I see it, Ross is very close to falling into the fannying around category. Both in terms of his play and also his contract.

The players that went on to be revered by the fans had already made it plain that they revered the club. When sold, they would later speak of how they were devastated, some even wept at hearing the news.

It would be pretty simple to list an Everton squad of truly outstanding players, legends, who all worship the club yet not a single one an Evertonian as a kid.

None ever held the club to ransom and became true legends.

Will Mabon
27 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:24:35
John (#10):

"He clearly hasn't flourished under Koeman and not many creative players have, so rightly he thinks playing time is limited."

Probably the first time I've seen that noted on ToffeeWeb. Are all the creative players useless or is Koeman unable to best use them? I have seen very little flair as part of whatever tactical instruction the team have been under. The several high-scoring games at Goodison seemed to occur when the team departed from the dour.

Will Mabon
28 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:29:40
Nigel (#11):

"One of the reasons why I think Koeman is a great manager is because he doesn't have any favourite players and treats all the players in the same way."

Barkley and the other players being treated alike in public? I must've missed that.

Kieran Fitzgerald
29 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:49:39
I think it may mean us lowering our price tag on him if he is to move. We have made a solid early start in the transfer window this summer and I don't think we would lose that much face if we were to look for £30m for him.

A package deal for Ross and McCarthy would be ideal for clubs in the middle tier. A ready made midfield axis.

The thing is, Ross is going to be seen as not being mentally strong enough and there are going to be fitness doubts around McCarthy. Hamstrings, once they start to play up, can be a constant injury for players.

Alexander Murphy
30 Posted 14/06/2017 at 06:57:37
Will (#27) & John (#10).

I won't deny that there is a bitter truth in what you observe, last season we were "pragmatic", "workmanlike" or just bloody uninspiring. Add to that, crap away.

However (and this does feel almost like I'm contradicting myself, almost) wasn't last seasons objective #1 to learn again to defend? I felt certain that it was. In doing so we weren't ever mentioned as "getting dragged into the relegation battle".

Lads, what follows is not directed at you two. May have been inspired/provoked by your words, but not an assault.

Personally, I saw:
Seventh.
Solid at home.
Europa League.
(Three ticks in the priority achievement column).
Failed in League Cup.
Failed in FA Cup.
Failed in derby matches.
Failed in contests against the top six.

Over all? Progress, but plenty of scope for improvement.

Ronald Koeman seems a right dour misery-arse to me. Good! Because our last manager grinned like a Cheshire cat when we just had the bejasus knocked out of us for the umpteenth time. His predecessor was misery personified and had the temerity to seek to persuade us that being crap was what we deserved.

If Ronald discovers his smiling muscles at the moment we lift silverware then that will do just dandy. Then he can go back to skulking until we are Champions again. I want him to bring us success, not a bloody comedy award from the Edinburgh Festival.

John McGimpsey
31 Posted 14/06/2017 at 07:06:38
Surrounded by shite that don't move, can't help. I for one hope he signs and the incoming players have brains instead of this running for running's sake.

Toffees seem to love a runner with no end product. We got shut of one in Naismith and now are slobbering over another one? Eleven players on a pitch yet we pick on one time and time again.
Mike Green
32 Posted 14/06/2017 at 07:18:07
Gavin (#9) – not a chance; if he's reportedly turned down £100k a week I'm afraid he has to go if we can get a buyer who he's willing to go to and we can strike a good deal with.

If he is going to try and sit his contract out, play him at his own game and use him as back up / a sub and he can kiss any chance of playing in the next World Cup goodbye.

The situation is very much like his performances – in limbo. If he's not going to force the issue then we'll have to. A large part of me thinks this could all be down to David Moyes Jnr, who I think is still his agent, trying to fill his Dad's shoes by playing silly bollocks.

Sorry, Ross, if you've not signed by now, it's goodbye from me.

Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 14/06/2017 at 07:18:10
Will (#27). You note that there has been very little flair but surely you must also note that the only time in his career so far that Barkley has shown signs of a smidgen of consistency has been in 2017 under Koeman?

I'm on holiday so haven't read anything for six days but, after reading this topic, I think back to Man Utd away and think of the golden opportunities both Ross and Rom, spurned, and think that "better footballers" would have carved the Mancs up at least a couple of times that night.

I'm going back to the beach, thinking Lyndon @12 has called it right, and I also think it's time for Ross to leave, especially if he doesn't get on with a manager who has finally got him on the right lines occasionally!

Will Mabon
34 Posted 14/06/2017 at 07:21:02
Alex, Koeman certainly arrested the fall and improved the defence to a point. The midfield was tightened somewhat, Davies made strides and so on. It could be said our finishing position was about realistic by many measures though our attempts in the cups were a flop.

At the end of the season, things looked little changed from the spell before Christmas. I somehow expected a more defined direction, shape and structure to the team, a look of professionalism and consistency, of something being built and steadily improving. A cohesion, team spirit, belief.

This is what I hoped to see result, with the appointment of Koeman. I now fear his style is more a dour and safe route, perhaps not far enough removed from some of Davy's offering. Not convinced with his man management either.

It seems he has access to much better recruitment than Moyes or Martinez, so this season should tell us all we need to know.

Will Mabon
35 Posted 14/06/2017 at 07:43:12
Tony (#33) – there was a period in which Ross was improved this last season though, of course, it faltered. I can't agree its the only time in his career. I think it's often forgotten how good he was during periods of Martinez's reign.

I still believe he often had an almost impossible task with mostly just a tightly-marked Lukaku in front and no-one moving forward or passing him. People may say he doesn't run forward with the ball as we have seen in the past – but what were his instructions?

Notwithstanding past inconsistencies of all the flair players (and others) before Koeman's time, it is telling, I believe, that none of Deulofeu, Barkley or Mirallas have delivered or been markedly improved, Gerard of course being quickly discarded. Bolasie, try as he usually did, failed to recreated much of his better form seen at Palace.

I tend to feel we won't see a fast, dynamic, attacking team under this manager. How many times did we see a number of players flood forwards, or into the box? I don't think it's Koeman's way. I'd like to be proved wrong.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 14/06/2017 at 08:16:12
Will (#35) you might see a more and better Everton, in an attacking sense, once Lukaku has gone, whether Ross is still here, we will have to wait and see.

Personally I think Koeman will make him a better player, if he stays and, more importantly, if he listens and takes on board any criticism is to improve him.

Ultimately I think he has made the decision to go or he has listened to the wrong people.

Jim Lloyd
38 Posted 14/06/2017 at 08:42:48
The fact is, he won't sign the contract that the club have put to him. They must think it's a good offer and are left with the decision to sell him or allow the current contract to run down.

From what I've seen of him in the last 3 seasons, my view is that he hasn't improved his decision making, his ability to read a game. He's improved his tackling (and needed to) in the last season but still gives the ball away, runs into blind alleys, and holds on to the ball to long on way too many occasions.

Whether he'll ever improve, who knows but its secondary really. He won't sign and the club have decided (or so they say) that he will be sold. So I suppose it's a wait and see if someone will offer a good price for him.

As for Koeman being a dour unimaginative coach and maybe not a good man-manager, I think we've improved in the last season to be way ahead of what we were the season before. I think we can only become the attractive, fast-flowing football team when we get the players in that are good enough to produce that kind of football.

I'm waiting to see what new players we've brought by the end of this window

James Morgan
39 Posted 14/06/2017 at 09:00:00
I'd like him to stay and fight for his place. Klaassen coming in doesn't mean the end for him, but Klaassen and Sigurdsson means it's bye bye son. What will be will be, I'm just excited to see what will Koeman's own team look like...

Klaassen, Sandro, Pickford, Bolasie, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Keane? And probably a few more too. A largely young and hungry, fully fit team with a good pre-season.

Ian Jones
40 Posted 14/06/2017 at 09:24:33
Everyone has some good points for Ross staying or going, how or when he might improve, why he hasn't signed a new contract etc.

I will just go with my thought which some have also alluded to which is perhaps he is holding on committing to Everton until he sees what's happening to Romelu Lukaku

If Romelu goes, I think Ross will be more inclined to stay due to us hopefully playing a more rounded game if we buy more midfield type players, and hopefully a forward or two, there will be more competition for places so we need to keep everyone happy. When we are winning the league and 3 cups, players will be happy...

Tony Hill
41 Posted 14/06/2017 at 11:11:25
I agree with Mike Gaynes and hope that Mike is right (#14). I, too, can see Barkley flourishing alongside, or in competition with, better players. It happened when Davies made his breakthrough and the focus was removed from Ross.
Michael McCarthy
42 Posted 14/06/2017 at 11:22:43
The most assists by an English player. Never hides, most skilful player at the club – what more do you want? Over to you, Mr Koeman!
Nick Armitage
43 Posted 14/06/2017 at 12:41:03
Most assists by an English player? So what?

Skillful? So what? I know players who can do 100 keepy-ups in their back garden, but stick them on a pitch and they're lost.

The team only had him as a creative outlet so those assists almost happened by default (ditto for goals with Lukaku).

How did Barkley play in the derbies? How did he play in the Cup games? His stats were appalling in the games that mattered. One bit of magic every 3 games is not enough.

He has more assists than David Silva but stats are only half the story. Silva doesn't dawdle on the ball, doesn't get caught in possession, finds space and knows when to pass. He has a brain. Barkley simply doesn't and it is misleading to use stats to gloss over his fundamental lack of awareness.

He is no kid anymore. Tom Davies, 4 years younger, ran rings around him.

Cash in. Move on.

Jim Hardin
44 Posted 14/06/2017 at 12:48:26
Michael McCarthy,

Odd standard you have there. If this were an "English-only" league then maybe it would make sense. Of course when compared with another English player, Alli, the one who plays ahead of him for the National team, Alli had one less assist but exactly how many more goals?

Alli in 70 appearances has 28 goals and 16 assists. Barkley in 150 appearances has 21 goals and 18 assists. Care to look at the numbers for the non-English players at his position? Ross is nowhere near the top of the list.

Maybe you could narrow the choice of players to English players born north of London with the last name beginning with "B" to ensure Ross is at the top of the list? The willingness of some to try to justify keeping and paying a disappointment of a player amazes me.

John Raftery
45 Posted 14/06/2017 at 12:54:26
If Ross was at a mid-table club would we be interested in paying, say £30m plus wages of £100k per week? I think based on his overall form over the past three seasons the answer would be 'no'.

While Ross remains capable of providing some fantastic moments, the brutal truth is he cannot be relied upon to deliver 7/10 performances week after week.

Poor decision-making has been a serious flaw in his game since he made his debut in the first team nearly six years ago. There was a period last season around January and February when he appeared to have understood what was required. It was all the more disappointing therefore when his performances tailed off in the final couple of months of the season. It was not the form one might expect of a player seeking a new contract or trying to impress potential suitors.

I think a move this summer to a club with slightly lower expectations will be good for the player. The £50m price tag is ridiculous. We will be lucky to receive £20m.

Brian Harrison
46 Posted 14/06/2017 at 13:08:06
The fact is, love him or loathe him, the club have offered him, in their words, a very good contract, and so far he has refused to sign it. The club needs to plan ahead so quite rightly they are planning life without Barkley.

Yes, he may decide to run down his contract and the club can't do anything about it if he does. Although a lot can happen in 12 months, so I think, for all concerned, it would be better for Barkley to move on.

Gordon Crawford
47 Posted 14/06/2017 at 13:23:57
Ross's situation is possibly irreversible now. I would have liked him to stay, but I feel the damage has been done and it would be best to move on. Smashing player on his day but he is very inconsistent.

Whether it's due to money, Ronald or even perceived lack of ambition, Ross has to let the fans and the club know what's going on. The silence sadly is deafening and with everyday that goes by, Ross is driving a nail into his own Everton coffin.

Kevin Tully
48 Posted 14/06/2017 at 13:36:18
Could be BS, but I had a text off a usually reliable pal who says both Spurs and West Ham have offers on the table and it's now up to the player to decide who he wants to join.

Charles Barrow
49 Posted 14/06/2017 at 13:47:23
I would like Ross to stay – we don't know what is going on in private.

Remember all the crap about an announcement about Ross a good few weeks ago? Since then nothing. I think it is not about money but about Ross being worried he'll be frozen out next season – and I don't blame him considering how he's been treated by Koeman.

I'm not trying to make out I know more than anyone else but I was at a party in Surrey last week, I had a conversation with a pissed football agent. I tend to believe him when he said that most transfers are about personality clashes and money – it's easy to persuade a footballer to move when they hate the manager (and vice versa).

Sam Hoare
50 Posted 14/06/2017 at 13:57:10
I still think there's a smashing player in there. Even though he was very inconsistent last season, he still was in the top 10 players in the league for assists. In my opinion, he often struggled due to lack of movement in front of him.

Granted his decision-making is still suspect but he's still only 23. No guarantee that this part of his game will improve and I guess that's why Koeman is happy enough to let him leave (or so it seems).

Still, I'd like to see him in a team with a few more creative outlets and players showing more movement in the final third. Sadly, that team may turn out to be Spurs.

Winston Williamson
51 Posted 14/06/2017 at 14:05:12
My own personal view of the way we set-up (particularly away from home) to attack (limited and unadventurous) was a result of a lack of trust in the forward players by Koeman.

Our forwards under Martinez held no defensive shape (ie, pressing or covering players likely to receive the ball). This improved a little under Koeman, but not extensively.

I'm hoping that the new additions in the forward line will result in more adventurous attacking, because the new additions will hold a shape and allow it to happen without effecting our defensive shape.

Chris Williams
52 Posted 14/06/2017 at 14:14:36
This debate is reminiscent of the agonising over John Stones – young, talented, hasn't reached his potential, blah blah blah.

Anybody see him last night? I kid you not, there are reports today saying he needs to work on the defensive side of his game!

Same with Ross, I'm afraid. Take the money and move on. Let some other poor buggers worry about his potential

Stan Schofield
53 Posted 14/06/2017 at 14:16:24
There may be interest from the likes of Spurs. We just don't know, and there's no basis to make assertions either way. We'll just have to see what happens.

If he stays here, Koeman will need to organise the team differently, to get more movement. We've been too static in too many games, especially away from home, and that doesn't gel with Barkley's more instinctive game.

In this sense, unless we improve a lot in terms of organisation, Barkley might be better off elsewhere, playing in a better side that has more fluidity.

Jay Harris
54 Posted 14/06/2017 at 14:33:50
Ross has had plenty of opportunities to show supporters and a number of managers that he is the real deal but has instead shown inconsistency and self-doubt even over 90 minutes.

For such a big lad he can't head a ball nor tackle with any conviction and fails to impose himself in too many games.

I am amazed at his contract standoff because I struggle to imagine he will find a better club or a better deal, so we have to assume he has either personal problems or is being badly advised.

It is very sad but imo he has to be sold now at any reasonable price.

Kristian Boyce
55 Posted 14/06/2017 at 15:01:34
Even after all these years, nobody, including Ross, knows what position he can actually play in. Where he plays for us is meant to be a Number 10 role. Look at other teams and look at their '10s'. When you think of a Number 10, normally you think of a fleet footed, small and quick player with great vision. None of those describe Ross.

The majority of the time, main role of a number 10 is to be the playmaker, creating chances for the forward player. When Ross gets the ball, it's always head down and steamroll towards the goal, with a long ranged shot normally the outcome. He's too much of a selfish player to be in that position. I don't know if this is intentional due to poor decision making or that's how he sees his game.

Unfortunately, we have other selfish players upfront as well, Lukaku, Mirallas and when he's here Deulofeu. Looking at Lukaku's stats this year, he had a better goal per chance record that Kane. If we had a true playmaker who was feeding him, he probably would have broken the 30-goal mark.

I wonder if coming through the academy under Moyes and the 4-5-1 model that was played, hasn't helped him develop. He probably is suited to the 'Cahill' role, which is a true attacking midfielder. We don't have that role now and we require a more creative player in that position. To give Koeman credit, I think he's tried him in different positions in the season to see if he could adapt, but I don't think he has the defensive skill set to play in more of a central midfield role (which is surprising as he started off as a centre-back in youth football).

In terms of the contract, I think Bill is trying to make a last ditch attempt to get him to stay. I do feel this is slightly against the wishes of Koeman and probably Moshiri as they either want a better player or to recoup some money on an asset.

I'm thinking the press conference that never was at the end of the season was put off by Bill to allow him to pull Ross's heartstrings in getting him to stay. The romance of having a local lad in the team probably blinds Bill to the fact that he's not signing a contract or that he may not be good enough to move us forward.

Mike Gaynes
56 Posted 14/06/2017 at 15:19:06
Kristian (#57), agreed.

I've been saying here for years that, based on his game, Ross is actually an out-of-place #9 who would thrive as a second striker – much as Cahill did when he and Fellaini were serving as emergency forwards for several games under Moyes a few years ago.

Ross's strength, skill and ability to react would seem to make him a natural supporting striker. Too bad nobody ever tried him there.

Brian Williams
57 Posted 14/06/2017 at 16:35:01
I think just about everybody is over-analysing Barkley's game. Top players can do top things whatever position they're in, or playing. Ross's weaknesses aren't down to this manger or that manager not developing him, or not playing him in this or that position.

The "mistakes" he makes are usually basic, as in dwelling on the ball and losing possession, pirouetting and not deciding where or who to pass to and then losing possession, making the wrong decision and losing possession or putting a pass astray. That's down to basic skills, not managed or coached ability.

People need to accept the lad has a few weaknesses to his game which unfortunately are not outweighed often enough by his strengths. It's quite simple and straightforward to be honest.

Alan Bodell
59 Posted 14/06/2017 at 16:59:37
Jay (#54) has it nailed for me and how Ross got so many caps is beyond me as many players in his position shine 1 out of 8 times.

A really nice lad that promised so much.

James Stewart
60 Posted 14/06/2017 at 17:24:19
Barkley has been very poorly advised. The contract he's been offered by the club is eye watering. 100k p/w is more than double the majority of players in the league.

He is not at the level where anyone would be prepared to offer more so he's run out of road. The likes of West Ham are hardly going to appeal when he will have been told United and Spurs were after him. Good luck trying to get 100k p/w at Spurs. Not even Eriksen gets that!

Jay Harris
61 Posted 14/06/2017 at 18:23:06
James from what I heard a Spurs delegation met his agent a couple of months ago and lost interest due to his demands.

Knowing Levy he will leave it towards deadline day, make a stupid offer, offer the lad 80k a week and get him on the cheap.

Lev Vellene
62 Posted 14/06/2017 at 18:39:09
Barkley could earn per week what any three average fans could earn per year! And he still needs to figure out how to work in his preferred (?) position!

So no, if he chooses to go, good riddance! If he signs a contract, I'll cheer him on!

But you should think Franny could tell him some things about his, erm, ego, being to big for his britches...

Darren Hind
63 Posted 14/06/2017 at 18:57:33
Will @35 You will not be proved wrong.

We could sign Messi and Koeman would want to turn him into a tackling machine.

It's beyond me that people could watch Everton and then criticise anybody's creativity. The manager strangles it at birth.

You need a bit of ambition to be creative. You need a manager who encourages it, one who does not bollock the living daylights out of anybody who breaks ranks.

It really does defy belief that we have fans who criticise Barkley's creativity whilst supporting Koeman and his pug ugly, don't break ranks, zombie football. How the fuck does that work?

I really hope Ross stays on an improved offer from the board and Koeman flounces out... In fact, I'm smiling just typing it.

Denis Richardson
65 Posted 14/06/2017 at 19:00:49
Pickford deal has shown we don't need to sell to buy so thankfully the inevitable Lukaku/Barkley saga can go on without disrupting our transfer business too much.

Also means we can get deals done now before we flush with cash after selling at least Lukaku, if not Barkley as well. Klasson, Sandro + others new faces can take their place and we move one.

Damian Wilde
66 Posted 14/06/2017 at 19:26:47
Not good enough, sell him. Problem is, would anyone buy him? Maybe Newcastle will be his level.
Brian Williams
67 Posted 14/06/2017 at 19:39:41
Agree with you there Damian. I think Newcastle would be a great fit for Ross. They'd idolize him up there and when they take to a player they really take to him.
Dave Ganley
68 Posted 14/06/2017 at 19:41:45
Like a few others I agree that Ross is talented but I personally don't think it will ever shine through on a consistent basis. Given how he has performed in general over the last 150 plus games he has played, I think a 100k contract is very generous indeed. I think that's come from BK not Ron. I can't remember when Ross actually shined and turned a game on its head when it really mattered, bit like Lukaku really. If somebody wants him then get shut. West Ham may be interested but will be very surprised if the spuds come in for him. I really wanted him to do well here but he just hasn't done it. The odd flash of magic once every blue moon just isn't good enough. Coutinho embarrassed him in the last derby by showing him the level he needs to be at. He's only a year older than Barkley, will Ross reach that level? Doubtful in Koeman opinion.

It's also become apparent that this post has brought forth the usual shite from people that if we want a player to work a bit harder then we must want a team of workhorses and nothing else. What absolute bollocks. Did the Everton team of the 80s work hard? Of course they did, were they are workhorse team? Course not. It's just a stupid arguement. The bane of our life in the 80s, Ian Rush was the shites first line of defence. Was he shit and had no talent? Get a grip. Asking a player to put pressure on the opposition when not in possession doesn't make us a team of workhorses, it makes us a team. Stop using such a shit arguement to excuse lazy players.

Jason Broome
69 Posted 14/06/2017 at 20:06:15
Dare he sit on the bench and run his contract down in a World Cup year?

I think he'll sign citing up-coming transfer arrivals as his motivation.

Dave Abrahams
70 Posted 14/06/2017 at 22:10:28
Jason (#69), to be honest, I think Ross is as far away from being selected for England's World Cup campaign as Everton are from getting £100M for Lukaku.
Paul Birmingham
71 Posted 14/06/2017 at 23:16:34
None of us know the current status and prevailing facts and issues. I'd be made up if Ross stayed, and grew up and adapted his game, but I can't see any consistent signs this will happen.

The communication breakdown that perhaps is fact between agent and club isn't helping.

I reckon the Toon could be possible... I can't see him going anywhere else.

I hope that he reflects on his time so far at EFC, all-in-all, if he wants to, he can do. Over to you, Ross Barkley, but somehow, I sense we need mediation to resolve one way very soon.

Stick or twist, and I think if there's a no-show by Ross Barkley and his agent, the board will sanction his sale.

Michael Kenrick
72 Posted 14/06/2017 at 23:35:31
Darren (#63),

I think people recognize the underlying truth in your over-the-top characterization of Honest Ron's rather conservative approach but I suspect that they, like me, are still going to give Koeman the benefit of the doubt going into Year 2 of the 3-year 'project'.

Tightening up the defence was essential and the increased discipline required was a big step-up from those lazy hazy "do what you want" days under Martinez. "Team in transition" was something we heard an awful lot last season, and if we have half-a-dozen new first-team players to bed in next season, then it ain't stopping any time soon.

That's where I think Koeman is getting a pass for clamping down on flair — although I think it was a huge and tragic mistake in terms of Barkley's arrested development. It's fine margins though, and just means being a little more adventurous and a little less defensive-minded when we have the ball. I still harbour the hope that we will see that more and more, especially if the defensive solidity provides Koeman with something to build on.

But you still may be right: Dour Davey Mk 2.

Graham Lloyd
73 Posted 15/06/2017 at 04:06:45
Just to add to my previous quotes and also pick up on some of your comments.

Koeman is a good man-manager. I think, when you come up against immaturity and clashing because players have too much power, it makes Koeman look a bad man-manager but I don't see it that way.

He doesn't take any nonsense; he is respected for his previous footballing triumphs and also he goes back in time to when winning managers like Harry Catterick where seen and heard when it meant something.

He is very definite about what he expects and how he expects to get there. If you want success, you have to have method – it doesn't just happen.

Brian Williams
74 Posted 15/06/2017 at 09:47:13
I was gonna do some patio pressure washing today but it's cloudy.

Bloody Koeman's ruined our weather since he arrived.

Jim Potter
75 Posted 15/06/2017 at 10:30:59
The very bad leg break probably robbed us of the true Ross Barkley. Since then, he has only shone in bits and, to me, he appears to lack the quickness of thought and footballing intelligence of a truly great player.

It appears that he may not be 'on the same page' with the manager given the public criticism he received and now the refusal to sign the contract.

On his day he can have flashes of brilliance or have a very sound game. On his day. On others he can be truly disappointing – making the wrong decisions, delaying the obvious to only then do the mundane or the poor, and generally leaving many fans with the feeling that they've been observing an unfulfilled promise.

It would be interesting if he stayed to observe or play alongside someone like Sigurdsson, then perhaps his judgement and execution could improve.

If his hope is for 'a big move', I fear he is in for a disappointment, akin to mine with him.

As for Lukaku – has he also listened too much to his turd of an agent? As the mega move he 'knew' he would get begins to fade away as the only clubs that can afford him begin to buy others or look elsewhere.

An extremely large helping of humble pie might need to be consumed in the Lukaku household over the next few months if things don't happen fairly quickly. And that would be great as I think Rom will continue to improve – and with Gylfi, Davy, Morgan etc, his supply will only get better.

Craig Walker
76 Posted 15/06/2017 at 10:41:47
I've said this many times now but I really wanted Ross to succeed at Everton. I don't believe he will ever be the player we need him to be. He constantly makes bad decisions on the field and I think he and his agent have made another one by procrastinating over his contract offer.

We need to stop being sentimental and get rid if he doesn't want to sign a contract for his boyhood club. We can command a good fee for him (although £50 million is ridiculous) and get better players who won't go missing when it matters.

Andrew Thompson
77 Posted 15/06/2017 at 11:01:19
Seeing as others are talking about "heard from a friend of an agent's friend", thought I'd add my tuppence.

Ross was offered a low deal, not a high one. Koeman apparently wanted to "hang him out to dry".

Lad has nowhere else to go in my opinion this window. What are the stats about his minutes played for England despite being in the squad? Not just Ronald that isn't impressed.

Also, his agent (Moyes Jr) has made him a laughing stock. We'll always have fresh Everton blood coming through, this one hasn't worked. Move on I say.

Simon Jones
78 Posted 15/06/2017 at 11:17:38
Wouldn't be surprised if no-one comes in for him and he goes on loan to a team like Bournemouth for the last year of his contract.
Brian Williams
79 Posted 15/06/2017 at 14:51:14
Jim (#75),

Good reasoned post Jim but what I can't agree with (and this where I feel a lot of people are off point with Barkley) is that his decision-making may improve playing alongside Sigurdsson.

His decision-making is innate to him, and in his head and his head alone. Doesn't matter who you put with him, unless that player is telling Barkley what to do, and then they wouldn't be Barkleys decisions anyway, if you see what I mean?

I think I've just come to accept the lad's limitations.

Alexander Murphy
80 Posted 15/06/2017 at 15:38:36
I agree wholeheartedly with Dave Ganleys solid reasoning in post 68. Indeed I recall our all time second highest goalscorer, then still a youngster, putting in a slide challenge for the ball on the half way line.

Great players work hard AND have talent. If Ross has decided not to sign, then he's decided to pop in a taxi. Yet another example of his poor decision making, what boyhood Blue would want to leave Everton now? We have more happening than in over two decades.

In 20 years time, when we have loads of plusses to look back on, will anyone be talking about the lad who decided to throw it all away rather than man the fuck up? I for one do not think so.

Steve Ferns
81 Posted 15/06/2017 at 17:56:51
I still think it will be a massive mistake to let Barkley go. If we sign Sigurdsson then we will be swapping one infuriating talent for another.

Make no mistake, Sigurdsson is not a 90-minute per game player. I suffered through a few Swansea games last season and they were a team like us under Moyes, working hard and looking to their flair player for some magic to get a point or three. For us it was Arteta; for them it's Sigurdsson.

He strolls all over the pitch, playing where he wants. He doesn't track back, he doesn't play a set position. If he joins us, then he may be free to roam, but he will have to roam in tandem with others (like Mirallas / Barkley do now), and he will have to work a lot harder.

At Spurs, Sigurdsson looked out of his depth. I believe we are now at the level spurs were at then, and so the question is has Sigurdsson improved to be able to step up?

I have watched a lot of the first season of Martinez again on YouTube in recent days. I wondered how that team, with largely the same players, was able to get 72 points, and to be so damn good and yet for the last 3 years we haven't been anywhere near as good. Sure, we are around that level this season, results wise, but not performance wise for me.

I would say that attacking we are not as good now as we were then. Lukaku is better than he was, and he played most of the games. So it comes down to the midfield. I would say that our preferred midfield then was Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas and Osman, with Pienaar often being the next to come in.

Osman and Pienaar were not the reason for 72 points, as good as they were, they were past their best that season. Mirallas weighed in with 8 goals and did very well, but he was not the reason for 72 points. Barry and McCarthy were fantastic. I'd say that Barry has got worse because of age and that McCarthy has been ravaged and reduced by injury and perhaps a few here forget just how good he was that year. However, he was largely defensive and did not directly contribute to many goals.

So for me it comes down to Barkley and a combination of the quality of the rest of the team, not withstanding superb contributions from McCarthy and Coleman who was absolutely on fire down the right. Barkley gets an unfair deal because he might have gone on 7 or 8 runs, counting these from where he gets on the ball and comes forward past just one or two, and he may get tackled, he may give the ball away, or he may misplace a pass or shot. Even if one time he got it right and scored or created a change leading to a goal, people came on here and moaned about the "bad decisions" the other times.

What struck me in Martinez's first season was the transitions. This is the time from when we intercept the ball or tackle and win the ball. In that first season we were lightning in transition. McCarthy or Barry would move the ball quickly with very few touches and Barkley would get on the ball and we would have the opposition scurrying on the back foot.

Mourinho has built a whole career on analysing transitions. His philosophy is built around making sure that, when you're in possession you're still thinking about defensive shape, and when you're defending you're thinking about attacking shape. This is why his teams are so hard to break through and so fast when they get the ball.

Seasons 2 and 3 of Martinez saw us struggle in transition. McCarthy never got going after that injury midway through the season and never seemed fully fit or the same player again. This meant that Barkley was not getting the ball quickly enough, that the opposition were able to have more shape by the time Barkley got the ball. The options for him were reduced. There was less to pass to. Also, the opposition knew what to expect from when Barkley had the ball at his feet and how if they got a few close together then he could not charge through them.

His game then seemed to change under Martinez. It was like one or both felt that Barkley needed to adapt his game, and so Barkley became more of a player that Martinez wanted him to be. So instead of get the ball and charge forward, it was get the ball put your foot on it, head up, look around and find the easy pass (sideways always).

This meant that instead of being 1 or 2 seconds from winning the ball to springing an assault on the goal, we were 5 or 6 seconds from winning the ball and often still in our own half and the opposition now back in a disciplined shape, and Martinez's Everton then struggled to play through teams. But when they did, it was usually magic from Barkley.

This season, Koeman has sought to change Barkley yet again. He's now being told a third way to play the game.

For me, every time we see Barkley brilliance we see him acting naturally. Barkley doesn't seem the most intellectually gifted guy; no doubt he has football intellect like Rooney, he can see patterns, angles, play developing and so on. But could it be, that when he gets the ball he is under pressure, he is thinking too much and so dithering too much and overthinking it all, so that moments pass and then he panics and makes mistakes?

I want Ross to stay, I want to see him just go out there and play his natural game. We all know his strengths. His technique is sublime. He has a thunderous shot. He can see passes no other player in the team can. He can charge forward and beat his man for fun, and unlike tricky wingers, he can do this in the middle, in the most congested part of the pitch.

And that for me is the bottom line, Ross Barkley can do things no-one else in this team can do. And those things can result in goals. It is down to the manager to figure out how to make Barkley play to his strengths, and for me, this new exciting team should be built around him.

Lukaku was too static for Barkley and perhaps a new more dynamic forward could interchange position with Barkley, Mirallas and whoever else we sign on the wing to make a more fluid attack that allows an instinctive Barkley to be able to see passes and, create space, and score goals.

Just do what it takes and sign him up.

Jack Convery
82 Posted 15/06/2017 at 18:19:35
I'd let him go and, if he does shine as brightly as some believe him capable of, then so be it. In my opinion it isn't going to happen for him at Goodison. He obviously considers himself an established player and wants a wage to reflect that fact.

I don't see him as an established player, he's still in the "he's got great potential" bracket. its about time he delivered. Look at Tom Davies – his commitment is unbelievable and his decision making is very good for a player of his age.

Too many managers / coaches have doubts about Ross. These are people who know the game and can't figure out how to get the best out of him. Get £25m and invest it wisely.

If he spends a season getting blisters with a team like Spurs, maybe he will reflect on how fortunate he's been at EFC.

Paul Sullivan
83 Posted 15/06/2017 at 22:48:12
Would love to see a real Number 10 like David Silva who can truly create. Venezuela brought on Soteldo in the U20 World Cup Final and he changed the game. I guess he wouldn't get a work permit but he looked ace.
Laurie Hartley
84 Posted 16/06/2017 at 07:51:51
Steve Ferns (#81) – probably the best pro Barkley post I have seen on here. Certainly gave me something to think about.

Perhaps the real stumbling block is between the player and the manager? If it is, I don't think you can fix that.

Nick Armitage
86 Posted 16/06/2017 at 13:38:59
Dave Ganley – "Asking a player to put pressure on the opposition when not in possession doesn't make us a team of workhorses, it makes us a team. Stop using such a shit argument to excuse lazy players."

Please get this on a T-shirt somewhere so I can show it to people when they argue that good players don't have to work. Messi and Ronaldo both sweat blood for their teams, they just happen to be world class as well. Is that any accident?

John Hammond
87 Posted 16/06/2017 at 15:44:09
Klaassen is the type of player Koeman wants Barkley to be – An attacking midfielder who presses and does a spot of defensive work.

I can't see Ross wanting to stay any longer and play a style he can't or won't adapt to. Where's he going to go though? I get the feeling he's kind of boxed himself into a corner but who knows maybe a deal has been done behind the scenes.

This season, if Koeman gets the players he wants, we're going to see a much improved pressing game. Like Ross, Lukaku doesn't suit this style so I fully expect a couple of forwards to come in who do. Personally, I think Koeman is happy for Rom to go – that's why there's been no drama. That £80m will go a long way to beefing up the squad...

Terry Smith
88 Posted 16/06/2017 at 16:31:15
I just can't see Ross progressing anymore. We need a player that can take the next step up and be more consistent – especially in the big games away from home.
Paul Birmingham
89 Posted 16/06/2017 at 00:04:57
We need footballers, and getting back to basics, it seems that what event the FA and the set-up of St George's Park as the idea of the once Sheffield Wednesday manager, has failed not only England at international level but all players with potential.

EFC and Ross, as much as I'd want him to change and grow his game, has missed the boat. I'm a big fan of Ross, but time waits for no one. The club has been good so now is the time, no-one can deny this fact. Will Ross Barkley work harder to improve his game and stay at EFC?

Billy Kenny, Wright and loads more times have changed and I'm getting too old . A good player is a good player and stand out is what it was about, it just seems now that the pressure is at an early age and your set up to fail if the potential is not read and developed right.

In some ways I blame Moyes and to be honest more than Brown Shoes as he just raised false hope and false real development. He hasn't kicked on much?

I hope Ross Barkley stays and gets on with the challenges of life but I sense it won't be with EFC, and that for me is a sad story. The notion o of grass roots football is without doubt , dying too. All the old grounds are now housing estates bar a few.

The 1980s are a life-time ago, as is the cost of living, and it is now getting higher. What's Our Name? Everton!


Peter Thistle
90 Posted 17/06/2017 at 07:15:07
Not arsed; he looked good when he was new and banging in sweet goals but he's been too inconsistent and gives the ball away too much. Koeman won't stand for that. Cya, Ross, enjoy being another Rodwell.
Len Gowing
91 Posted 17/06/2017 at 13:59:19
Don't know if it's been mentioned elsewhere but I've just been into the club shop in Liverpool 1, racks of Davies, Gana, Baines shirts etc even Funes Mori, but not one Lukaku and a solitary Barkley. If that doesn't say something? A stack of Robles but no Stekelenburg.
Lee Brownlie
92 Posted 17/06/2017 at 15:13:39
Well said, Dave Ganley (#68) re, the crap being spouted when our manager (like all good managers!) insists our players work harder!!

'Koeman stifling creativity at birth' I read... yeah, right, because the Dutch teams Koeman played for and teams he's since managed were all just full of 'work-horses', yeah?

'You earn the right to play your football' Big Ron Atkinson always said... not exactly a hero of mine, Big Ron, note... but he put together some very good, often very creative sides back in the day, too, didn't he?

Too much to ask our players to fight for this 'right to play' is it? Judgement on Ronald Koeman will really come based on the coming, his second, season, but hating just to hate our incumbent manager is a bit OTT to say the least!!

And anyway, what about all the playing time (including weekly license to 'run the show') our revered Rossy got from the manager when he finally pulled his socks up, last season?

Peter Lee
93 Posted 17/06/2017 at 17:10:16
I don't understand the criticism of his decision-making. Good decisions require good info. On the pitch, that means knowing where the players are and where there are passes "on".

Ross Barkley hasn't a clue about anyone on the pitch further away than an arms length unless he is taking the ball under no pressure from the defence with the luxury of being able to turn and pick out wide people. That happens when the oppo drop off so the glorious long raking balls are received by players under pressure. I can do that and I was never a superstar and I'm 64!

No vision. Not even worth keeping him as a cheap squad player. Get rid if anyone is daft enough to pay anything at all.

Don Alexander
94 Posted 18/06/2017 at 01:48:43
Short of hypnotism, and that's freaky to contemplate, the one thing that Ross has established in his five-year, multi-manager career to date is that he'll never develop the mind-set to consistently display the mesmeric skills he very decreasingly shows when in possession. They make him a good player, but only now and then.

When not in possession, he's the original Invisible Man, albeit with stiff competition from Lukaku. For an England based team already involved in the Champions League, that's a non-starter, never mind a team like us aspiring to barge into such a position.

I've previously described him as a bit dim and was slaughtered by some for doing so, but doesn't it prove it if he's still staying aloof from what's said to be an income of £5,000,000 per year from a club he is supposed to worship whilst delivering near enough the square sum of fuck all (see posts from some other Evertonians above for my corroboration, Mi' Lord)?

Can we afford to keep an under-performing, decreasingly sublime thicko and, if so, bar where he was born and raised, why?

David Barks
95 Posted 18/06/2017 at 02:13:57
Don,

I'll give it a go. I'd prefer to keep him if he's going to be part of a team that includes Klaassen, Sandro, Lukaku all as attacking threats and on the pitch at the same time as Barkley. I don't dispute that he has underwhelmed, been slow with his decision-making, and not done enough this past season.

However, I continue to say that part of the blame for that last season was a system that persisted with two defensive midfielders and often Davies, leaving Barkley and Lukaku with all the responsibility of creating chances. They actually did okay considering. But I believe that defenses knew exactly how to neutralize our attack in these cases, especially when away from home.

So I'd be very curious to see how he would do in a team that doesn't rely on him to be the playmaker, but one of the playmakers. If he signs a contract, of course.

Terry Underwood
96 Posted 18/06/2017 at 11:36:12
For me, the biggest disappointment is the player's lack of respect for his home town club. All it needs is a simple "I want to stay" or "I want to go". Surely that's not too much to ask?
Don Alexander
97 Posted 18/06/2017 at 12:11:31
Dave, you may be right but the signings made by Koeman indicate to me that Ross has missed the new Everton boat.

Unlike some, I don't see him as any sort of second forward because of his innate timidity and I don't see him as suitable on either side of a five man midfield if we're set up that way.

I do believe Koeman will play Klaassen, Schneiderlin, Idrissa and our Tom or Sigurdsson together in as many Premier League games as possible. Those four with maybe Lukaku and Sandro up front would excite me big-time.

I know there's a lot of speculation re that set-up but, as we're seeing, things are very different this summer from anything that's gone before.

Geoff Williams
98 Posted 18/06/2017 at 20:11:43
Like many of the current breed of footballer, Barkley has chosen badly when selecting his agent. He has been poorly advised by his greedy agent. I fear that his career is now in decline. He'll probably end up playing for a bottom-half club .
Mike Allison
99 Posted 18/06/2017 at 20:31:32
I think Koeman either has replaced him or is going to this summer. However good Barkley is, he's not quite what Koeman wants.

As well as this, players sometimes thrive because they move away from home. Going somewhere else could be good for Ross, and I'd wish him luck, and if we have both Klaassen and Sigurdsson, then I think we'd be fine as well.

I'm not even a scouser and I prefer when we have scousers in the side, but I think Ross needs a move and Everton need a slightly different type of player.

Ideally he'd go to a Champions League club in a decent foreign league, but that seems highly unlikely. I think seeing him on the Spurs bench might break my heart.

Christine Foster
100 Posted 18/06/2017 at 20:59:49
I sometimes despair of posters on ToffeeWeb at times, fickle to a man, one can only assume most think they know everything and feel the need to voice their experience out loud in sometimes smart, logical and informative ways. Not many of those about though..

The sad fact is its unlikely to be about money, it's more likely to be about the relationship between player and manager. I have no doubt Ross has tried to do what the manager has asked of him, to play with no-one forward of him than the immovable block of wood that is big Rom. If a playmaker has no-one to play with, then any player would suffer, but alas you all know better...

He is not suited to how the manager wants to play; indeed, it's clear the manager has elected to lever him out of the club with false deadlines etc, while he has been the focus of the managers public criticism many times, and many times the same criticism could and should have been levied at other players too, but for some reason was not.

No, with Koeman, it's "my way or the highway". But because Ross has a strong following in the club, on the board probably as well, Koeman hasn't got the wotsits to do a Conte with Costa and be straight with the lad. It's threats and bullshit...

I would love to see Ross in an attacking midfield, but it won't be Everton FC. I want him to stay but I also want him to go, to prove a point. Rather sad that.

Tim O'Connell
101 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:16:08
Christine (100) on what information do you make your post?

The only public information seems to be Ross has been offered a significant new contract but he declines to sign. If that contract is significant then surely the perception has to be that EFC want him to stay.

Koeman has made it clear he wants a decision – is that not the logical thing to do? Koeman may be upfront about it but is that a problem?

Perception is a dangerous thing but again the most obvious thing is that Ross thinks the grass is greener elsewhere. He has had plenty of game time at EFC and has shown many positives but also left the fans undecided (evidence: TW).

So, in my view, I would trust Koeman more than Ross in judgement and my guess is that it is now unlikely to result in Ross staying and it is unfortunate but no more. EFC is far more important than Ross!

Gary Reeves
102 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:19:27
Peter Lee (#93),

I agree totally, mate. I don't rate Barkley neither... never have.

It amused me that you included your age (64) to give perspective, and I do think that to be able to judge a good player it helps if you've seen good players (and good sides, for that matter). My old fella is 78, Evertonian man and boy, and has a major issue with him too.

To quote; "That Barkley ain't worth a blow on a ragman's trumpet."

Christine Foster
103 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:34:57
Tim, we have had a completely one-sided debate, sign or else... one man's fair and reasonable is another's dispute. Ross has said nothing, repeat, nothing regarding his contract and ALL the dialogue has come from Koeman, not the club or board, but Koeman, who by his own admission never gets into contract discussions (really). All the criticism has come from Koeman, not the player... not the board... all the ultimatums have come from a manager who does not get involved in players contracts... funny that.

Who has said his offer was fair and good? Oh yes, it was the manager! It has been rumoured on these pages that Koeman was blocked on the decision to get rid of Ross by the board, aka Kenwright.

As a lone playmaker in a defensive midfield, Ross Barkley has few outlets in front of him, our immovable object in front of him gives him few options.

There is no conspiracy, just a manager who doesn't want a player for whatever reason and a player who probably feels that much of the manager's individual criticism has been unjust and unwarranted and lacks the perspective that there are another 10 players in the team as well.

Personally I think the guy loves Everton... but to look at some of the comments on here I would wish him well elsewhere... many don't know quality when they see it.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
104 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:45:49
Christine (#100),

A little puzzled by your rather blanket condemnation of posters re Barkley. Some have said it could be money; some have said it could be the relationship with the manager. You decide (based on what?) that it ain't money and all of TW is 'fickle', because you apparently know better than they do?

And a plethora of posters have nailed the problem of lack of movement in front of him, so let's see some fairness there please. But does that stop him from running at and hopefully through defences, like he used to? It does if he never ever tries it. Why would that be? Presumably you know if it's come from the manager or there's some other reason for the sea change in his swagger and adventurousness.

You slam Koeman for how he's handled the lad, repeating this old and dead point about Koeman interfering with contracts, when all he's done is clearly project the club's position regarding the contract offer that of course he as manager would obviously know about. Koeman doesn't have to have been involved directly with the contract negotiations to know that much, so there's no conspiracy their either.

What is your point exactly? That Koeman wants him gone and is forcing him out? Yet Barkley's been offered a contract and it's Barkley who refuses to sign it. In reality, I'm sure it's not clear-cut either way but you coming on strong and condemning posters across the board for what are in the main, perfectly reasonable comments, is completely uncalled for.

Tim O'Connell
105 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:47:06
Christine, the reality is we do not know, so it is all down to perceptions. But, if there was no contract offer or it was very insignificant, I would be surprised if that did not come out. So Koemanwould then be on a hiding to nothing which, in my view (and it is only a view rather than supportable) is something he would not risk.

So obviously Koeman and Ross may have a different view on 'significant' but, at the end of the day, it is not going to work if Ross is not totally committed.

So back to the view that Everton Football Club is more important than Ross.

Tony Abrahams
106 Posted 18/06/2017 at 21:54:19
I usually agree with what you write, Christine, but not this time. How many times has Koeman said he wants Barkley to sign? About the same amount of times we have failed to hear, the silence is golden, response.

I honestly think it's time to worry when the manager never talks about you, but I suppose life's changed, and it doesn't work like that anymore?

Christine Foster
107 Posted 18/06/2017 at 22:05:04
Michael, it's rather simple really... the only comments and criticisms have been made by the manager. I did not (would not) assert a blanket dismissal of all the posters, just some of them...

Go back up the post and read some of them... when the point is we don't know. And it is all one-sided. People are assuming it's about money, but given the body language between player and manager, I doubted it.

As for the plethora of comment regarding the teams defensive formation in midfield, I did point that out very early in the piece... well very early in the history of the too and fro... But for me, I feel it's the relationship and it's sadly the end of Ross Barkley at Everton.

Some things are not all about the money... but in the end it would be nice to find out why.

Ray Robinson
108 Posted 18/06/2017 at 22:51:16
Christine, which part of "I sometimes despair of posters on ToffeeWeb at times, fickle to a man" is not a blanket criticism?

I actually agree with you that Koeman probably picked Barkley out for unfair public criticism but Barkley's level of consistency has hardly helped his cause despite the fact that nearly all of us, his being a true blue, would dearly love him to succeed.

For all his sometimes alarming bluntness, I'd rather have Koeman than "best of all possible worlds" Martinez. We won't get anywhere without some realism.

As others have pointed out, provided Ross's contract offer isn't derisory, Koeman clearly isn't trying to drive Ross out.

Gary Reeves
109 Posted 18/06/2017 at 22:57:07
Christine... "Some people don't know quality when they see it..."!! Am I on the same thread?Are we talking about the same player?

Where to start? ... Wavy leg tackling, poor goalscoring record, failure to win over a manager, inability to hold down a particular position, piss-poor half-hearted closing down, shots high/wide into the Park & Street Ends, getting endlessly caught in possession, ridiculous set-plays after ridiculous hands-up gestures, lack of pace, slow of thought, and last (but for me the very worst of all) ... passing the ball back two yards, to the man who's just given it to him, contributing nothing except to raise his "pass success" ratio.

Quality? Is it okay if we agree to differ, Christine?

John Pierce
110 Posted 18/06/2017 at 23:13:29
I might offer the time for the debate on Barkley has passed. Good enough or not, it would seem Ross will be one looking towards deadline day with the usual Evertonian trepidation.

Either the mooted move he is reputed to be waiting for will play it cool until deadline day or no offer will come to pass.

Very much in the rear view mirror.

Oliver Molloy
111 Posted 18/06/2017 at 23:25:53
It absolutely has to do with money AND of course Koeman has shown Ross a little tough love – the complete opposite from Martinez who was hailing him as the greatest British player there ever would be!

It is an open secret that Barkley has been offered a contract up to £100 grand a week; his agent is saying No; they want a club record £140 grand per week minimum and then bonuses.

Both Koeman and Walsh do not think that is his worth and it seems Moshiri agrees.

The board have a responsibility to sell any player if they are not committed to the club, have they not?

Ross Barkley may have to sit tight; not many clubs are going to offer Ross much more than what Everton already have.

Kenwright (being the ruthless chairman we all know he is) wants to give Barkley whatever he wishes. Let's not forget that Martinez would still be here if Kenwright had got his way. I'm told Koeman doesn't talk to Kenwright any more – he will only speak with Moshiri or the Russian guy.

It's all about opinions and for me, Ross Barkley is a good player who has talent a lot of other players can only dream about but he is far too inconsistent to be in the "great player" category.

I remember Can grab him round the neck on our turf in the derby a few years back, young Gallaoway running to back him up and sort the German out, tells you a lot about Barkley: when the going gets tough, he goes missing and his running round in circles, bad decision-making, playing the simple pass and the rest has been going on for years now.

By the way, Ross should have had that German prick in amongst the spectators.

Barkley being a scouser and Evertonian, I desperately wanted him to lead our team but have come to the conclusion he's not up to it; nothing to do with the numerous managers, tactics or whatever – great players shine and change games with their ability. No-one on here can tell me that Ross does this for Everton; it's less rather than more with him.

I do not believe the manager is forcing Barkley out, and if he stays, I think he will become a better player, but not the player we all hoped for.

Ian Pilkington
112 Posted 18/06/2017 at 00:15:13
What I don't understand is the silence from both Ross and his agent.

Koeman appeared to be happy for Ross to be offered a much improved contract, so why hasn't he signed it? Could there be a personal problem unconnected with football?

Other than wholly unsubstantiated press rumours regarding interest from Spurs, there is no evidence that Ross will be getting an offer from any of the leading clubs.

I strongly feel that, in a much reinforced squad next season, he should have a a future with us and I certainly don't see Sigurdsson, at £40M, 4 years older than Ross, and a relative failure at Spurs, as a suitable replacement.

Gary Hughes
113 Posted 19/06/2017 at 00:53:23
The main problem with Ross is that he's not the player we thought he was. He's had four full seasons as a so-called number 10 but has failed to justify the faith shown in him to deserve that role.

In short, for all his technical ability, he simply lacks the football intelligence required to be a top drawer playmaker.

Personally I think a good manager could utilise him in a different role with less responsibility. Think how Ferguson used Beckham out on the right with a defined disciplined role up & down the right flank.

Think of Barkley's delivery for Lukaku's header against Leicester, there's a really talented footballer in there who's also one of ours. I want nothing more than to see this lad succeed in a blue shirt & it just needs the right manager to find the best way to use him.

Kieran Fitzgerald
114 Posted 19/06/2017 at 07:28:27
I think you are going to see a lot more speculation about transfers coming through next week. Clubs are due back for pre-season at the end of next week. At that stage, transfer budgets will be set, coaches and managers will know who they want and what they can afford.

With Barkley, I think his best offer will come from a mid-table team like West Ham or Southampton. Newcastle may have enough cash as a newly promoted team because they had the parachute payments last season.

The stumbling block will be wages for me, not the transfer fee. Everton may look to just move the player on and bids of £25-30m plus, with add-ons over a number of seasons may be enough. Will Ross be happy though with the wages cap at a club like Southampton or Newcastle?

He could see out his contract with us and move as a free agent. No transfer fee means a stronger hand for the player when negotiating a wage.

Christine Foster
115 Posted 19/06/2017 at 18:58:07
Hands up, my choice of words could have been more concise in relation to a perceived blanket criticism of posters, suffice to say it was not my intent to condemn all into the one basket. But despite the criticism of my views I still think the player is of value to the team despite what many of you seem to think.

The other discussion point is how well the negotiations on his contract have been handled by the club and in particular Ronald Koeman. My view remains the same that, given a role in an attacking midfield, his value to the team will be vastly enhanced. However, that is unlikely to happen now and I do wonder if he has been leveraged out.

One thing is certain, his form has been affected as has his confidence but all of the above is academic now as it's hard to see him staying.

Jon Cox
116 Posted 19/06/2017 at 19:38:52
I know that Ross has been on a bummer for the last two seasons, BUT...

Wouldn't it be nice, to get on with the transfers, to keep him just to see if he sort of morphs into what we all want? Or throw the baby out with the bath water?

Forget Koeman. If you were Barkley, would you have enjoyed playing along side Jesus Christ Superstar the second?

Bottom line, get rid of, as Christine says, that lump of dictatorial wood and keep our boy.

It's a chemistry thing.

Michael Kenrick
117 Posted 19/06/2017 at 20:28:47
I share your obvious disappointment and regret, Christine, that he appears to be on the way out. A terrible waste of talent... but that's the central problem: seems it's Barkley himself (and no doubt his leech of an agent) who is wasting the talent.

I still think you are perhaps mis-stating the situation if you believe he is being edged out, and that money is not at least a fairly significant factor. Yes, I agree with your concerns about his relationship with Koeman, which everything points to being 'strained' at the very least... and quite possibly 'toxic'. But he is an Evertonian, we have been told repeatedly, and that should trump any issues he has with Koeman.

Is falling out with the manager justification for demanding £140k a week, when £100k a week is more than reasonable for where he is and what he has done in his career to date? I think the reason there are so many posts above that you dislike is because so many fans dislike the way Barkley and/or his agent appear to have held the club to ransom.

A lot of speculation, I know, and we don't know the half of it. Also, it wouldn't be the first time a popular player has been drive out of Goodison Park (Gary Speed, anyone?) But I just can't see the Barkley camp coming out to "put the record straight" and give us some other more valid reason for rejecting the contract – other than there not being enough money in it.

ps: Appreciate the "hands up", Christine. We all tend to go off half-cock when we are sufficiently driven to post on something. Thanks for that.
Raymond Fox
118 Posted 19/06/2017 at 20:28:53
Very frustrating player, Ross. My mate Roberto tried the arm round the shoulder and confidence-boosting praise, which seemed to work for a while. Koeman has given him a kick up the ass and that's failed to work also. Yet he does show occasionally flashes of brilliance and scores one or two top notch goals.

The problem is what is his best position: playmaker does not appear to be, although I do have sympathy with Christine's argument that there's not enough movement from our attacking players to help him find a good pass. For a midfielder he simply doesn't tackle nearly enough, and that's a major weakness.

If he does stay, which is beginning to look doubtful, try him pushed further forward where he would be more of a threat because he has goals in him. Even though he's been offered a contract, I think Koeman really sees him as a luxury player and, given his way, wants him gone.

Peter Warren
119 Posted 19/06/2017 at 20:39:01
I actually think Ross played better this season than last two.

I would like him to stay but happy for those terms to be on whatever the club or manager consider best.

In terms of criticism of Koeman, there's loads to be levelled at him whether you agree or not. Darren Hind shouts them out plenty. However, I don't agree with Christine and John Daley's criticism of Koeman's handling of "this affair."

Presumably they've made him what they consider a good offer as Koeman says. Presumably they want him to stay, as Koeman says. Like Koeman says, if he doesn't sign they sell (everybody knows they can't unilaterally so let's say "at least try to") see no problem In that either.

If he leaves good luck to him. The criticism I understand to a point is this public outing of Barkley. However, he's not set the world alight since his breakthrough season under Martinez who blew smoke up his arse for 3 years.

It's also not that bad. I don't remember Koeman going mad at him for being out early hours on a couple of occasions this year, indeed Koeman's response was, I recall, rather reserved, supportive and understanding.

Peter Warren
120 Posted 19/06/2017 at 20:44:29
I should say I think Barkley would play better with better forward players and more movement and entirely agree with Christine in this regard. I'm unsure it's a foregone conclusion that he will go; hopefully he signs.
Brian Williams
121 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:04:13
We'd all play better with better players around us.

So how good do they have to be before Barkley becomes consistent?

Kristian Boyce
122 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:17:36
If Ross was born in Manchester and was a boyhood Man Utd fan, I don't think we would be having the same conversation. With him being 'one of us' is where much of the criticism of the situation is coming from.

With silence from the player and his representatives over the contract, the fans and possibly the club do not know where he stands. At least with big gob Lukaku, everyone knows that he doesn't want to stay or sign a contract.

I still don't think having more movement in front of him would improve his game. He's not a playmaker, and probably never will be. He has one focus, head down and steamrolls towards the goal to unleash a shot outside the box.

Don Alexander
123 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:24:12
The whole Barkley scenario is like none I can remember, in any team.

He has the ball-skills, build and body that God may have designed for the perfect midfielder but he's now had five seasons to show it to those who cherish him. Unfortunately, for him more than us, he's really failed to attain the heights expected of him despite the occasional glimpse of sublime talent. Increasingly he looks clueless on the pitch, and that's sad.

None of the three Everton managers he's had have been able to develop him to even consistently good, never mind great, and he's now had three England managers who've collectively not included him in squads, never mind their teams. But maybe all these managers are wrong, or inept, or both.

Maybe some time in his next 150 games, Ross will show enough to be deemed consistently good but, in case he and/or his agent haven't noticed, Koeman signed on for just 114 Premier League games within his own current contract, with a very clear mandate to achieve CL qualification. He's got just 76 left to achieve it and I therefore suspect that anyone playing less than consistently good, at least, will have no part in his future plans.

Nicholas Ryan
124 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:37:51
'A young man afflicted with talent' as was once famously said [of someone else].
Paul Tran
125 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:44:38
To me, a talented, inconsistent player has chosen to decline a contract. I wouldn't break the bank for him, if that's what he wants. I wouldn't get rid of the manager for him, if that's what he wants. We have started buying decent players early, so we're now showing more ambition, if that's the issue.

If you think he's a fabulous, consistent player waiting to happen, misunderstood by a list of managers, hamstrung by poor team mates and tactics, fair enough.

But please don't call me fickle or imply I'm unreasonable. I keep reading the phrase 'excuse factory' on here. The biggest one is the one for Barkley. If he's that good, wouldn't he be producing the goods consistently by now?

Ray Said
126 Posted 19/06/2017 at 21:52:28
I will be sad to see him go in one way, which is that we have never given him a chance to be used as a deep lying striker. He was quoted as saying that is the role he prefers and he has all the attributes: big, strong, can dribble and make space and has a good shot.
Tom Bowers
127 Posted 19/06/2017 at 22:04:51
Koeman has shown that he wants players who will play for him and that means stiff competition for the players from last season and in particular those who didn't apply themselves wholeheartedly to the cause.

Some others who were injured will also be coming back as the new season progresses and it will be very interesting to see who emerges from the pack as regular starters.

We, as long suffering Evertonians, hope that this is finally a turning point and that success is just around the corner.

The club should grab the money for Rom and Ross (if he goes too), then get another striker and central defender before the Europa League starts, if possible.

Mike Corcoran
128 Posted 19/06/2017 at 22:06:17
I'm with you, Ray, I would like to have seen him played up top but don't think we had the guile to make the passes into holes he would have needed. It would have got the defending monkey off his back though.
Kristian Boyce
129 Posted 19/06/2017 at 22:19:57
After I made my post at #122, it got me thinking...

If he was at another team, and had no connection to Everton, and his asking price was the £30-50m being quoted, how many people on here would be clamoring for us to sign him?

Gary Reeves
130 Posted 19/06/2017 at 22:47:24
Kristian, it's okay fans "clamouring" for players but those decisions are ultimately the responsibility of a club's scouting system.

I personally want Barkley gone, as we've indulged him for far too long. But hypothetically let's say some clubs are getting scouting reports back on Barkley – what would they say?

Interesting, because we know what Messrs Moyes, Warnock, Hodgson, Southgate, and Koeman think of him (as well as many of our fellow Blues... see above!). I'm just disappointed that a level of sentimentality is distracting from the harsh reality...

He ain't good enough to move us forward. The evidence is overwhelming. If someone else wants to try with him, I wish them well.

Clive Mitchell
131 Posted 20/06/2017 at 00:37:43
Lyndon, your piece is as ever reasoned, rational, thought-provoking – but it just doesn't tie in with the player and the team I watched last season. Barkley was our only 'special' player this side of the world class striker Lukaku is – god knows how good Lukaku'd be if he improved on the touch of a wardrobe.

I'd go further – Ross was more exciting to watch than Romelu. It was Ross who you KNEW was capable of anything out of nothing, and often proved it. If he leaves – and I think he definitely will – it will be an Everton tragedy.

We should have made it clear to the lad that we would do anything to keep him at the club. Instead we've made him a derisory offer and he's rightly saying he's not having it. Sigurdsson? Klaassen? Not in the same class as Ross Barkley, and I've no doubt at all that in the next five years Ross will prove it.

Brian Williams
132 Posted 20/06/2017 at 01:02:06
Clive, you must have been watching different games from me, that's all I can say with regard to Ross's play.

What information do you have with regard to the derisory offer? Reports said the offer would have made him the club's highest-paid player ever, do you know different?

Gordon Crawford
133 Posted 20/06/2017 at 01:12:25
Clive I agree with most you said, except for derisory offer. Rumour has it it's over a £100,000, hardly derisory.

But he will almost certainly leave. This whole situation has been badly handled and Ross needs to shoulder some of blame too. He could have easily said "This is what's happening..." but he has yet to open his mouth.

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 20/06/2017 at 01:32:30
Christine,

I always admire your very logical and reasoned posts, love the way you are sticking up for and defending Ross Barkley and he may have the future you think he deserves, but I have got to say in this case you are letting your heart rule your head – that is, in my opinion.

Don Alexander
135 Posted 20/06/2017 at 01:52:49
The club's owner(s) have long since declared their ambition and, as employees, the players have to choose whether or not to be part of it, regardless of how and where they're required to play.

By not signing, Barkley has, to be frank, imagined he's special enough to wave two fingers in Moshiri's & Koeman's faces. Go figure what'll happen next...

Ernie Baywood
136 Posted 20/06/2017 at 04:07:05
Not sure he deserves criticism for saying nothing. I actually think it's been a pretty classy way of handling it given the stuff that's been thrown his way.

Anyway, if he stays then hopefully we can finally get him going. I know there's a top player in there. I saw him dominate games when he first came into the team, including a derby where he was just on another level.

If he goes, as looks increasingly likely, then good luck to him. It's his career. It will just be a shame.

Christine Foster
137 Posted 20/06/2017 at 05:21:55
Rumours have him as turning down a contract worth more than £100k?
Well, who knows if that's true, but think about it for a sec, here is a guy who loves, eats and breathes EFC, do any of us really think he would give it away because he wants another £5 or 10k?

I doubt it. If push came to shove if it was just about the money that contract would have been signed ages ago. Because I would sign it just to play my football at a place I love.

For me, it's about being wanted or not, and I will say it without any factual back up, but I suspect our wonderful centre-forward has been winding him up, telling him what he should say or do in response to the criticism. You can see it the way they interact, again any basis for the comment? Nope, just my intuition which is never wrong! Lol.

Christine Foster
138 Posted 20/06/2017 at 05:47:22
I think the guy is not happy. Let's face it, criticized by his manager, singled out on more than one occasion, punched in the face when he goes out in his city, and hardly a ringing or immediate condemnation from the club in response to the vile rag Sun for the racist and personal attack.

It was some time if memory serves me right before the said anything or eventually banned the rag, after much public pressure. I remember reading a US piece saying how good it was that EFC didn't respond to it but I did think it odd. Sorry guys it's just the way I see it... warped intuition and all that.

Now, getting back to the actual players ability, on his day he can be brilliant but chicken and egg time, if you ain't happy, you ain't going to be brilliant very often are you?

I suspect he really doesn't want to go but he feels let down and is being wound up...

David Ellis
139 Posted 20/06/2017 at 06:36:02
I think its two things: (a) the money, and (b) he's worried we may sign someone better in his position and he won't get enough game time. Both entirely rational and sensible reasons for holding up signing a contract. It's just not in his interest to sign up just yet.

However, if he is worried about getting into the Everton first XI, he surely must also worry about this if he moves to a Champions League club. So we could see him move to someone like West Ham on £140k a week – I wouldn't blame him if he did, but I don't think he's worth this amount.

I hope he accepts the contract on offer and stays. I would like to see how he looks with better more mobile players around him. But, as I am confident we can and will sign a worthy replacement, I am actually pretty relaxed about this now.

Will Mabon
140 Posted 20/06/2017 at 06:42:20
The rumours of the £100k per week have not come from Barkley or his agent. Of course, many here just "know" what it's all about.

Here's what we actually know:

1. Koeman gave Barkley "exclusive" public treatment unlikely to endear him to a player.
2. Everton have offered Barkley a contract, described by Koeman as "Right for the player".
3. Koeman publicly set an unenforceable deadline for Barkley to sign, the passing of which would lead to him being sold (again, unenforceable).
4. Barkley has not signed the contract.
5. Barkley or his management have made no comment whatsoever.

Those above are facts, the only facts from which a conclusion may be drawn or guessed at. Everything else is speculation.

We've heard allegations of greed. Accusations of "Boyhood club" disloyalty indicating insult to the club and fans. Claims that Barkley is "Holding the club to ransom". All totally unfounded at this stage.

I draw my own personal conclusion from the facts, but that's just my unproven opinion.

Tony Hill
141 Posted 20/06/2017 at 08:49:13
Far too rational, Will.
Dave Abrahams
142 Posted 20/06/2017 at 09:31:53
Will (140), a good proportion of posters haven't bothered talking about what they do or don't know but have come to the conclusion that Ross hasn't improved a great deal since he made his debut five years ago and doesn't show any real signs of becoming a consistent player for Everton.

I would add that most of them including me want him to be a success at Everton, and if he moves on most would wish him well with the rest of his career.

Brian Williams
143 Posted 20/06/2017 at 11:38:54
At least with regard to Ross's situation, we're not getting "the player has agreed terms with such and such" like we're getting in the news regarding the other fella.
Ian Horan
144 Posted 20/06/2017 at 12:05:11
The passionate defence of Barkley's position is based purely on the "he is our diamond and one of our own" however Koeman's position with Ross had been consistent: he has been offered a very good contract based on his worth to the club.

Koeman stated he needed a decision from Ross so he could plan his recruitment for next season, no hidden agenda – merely a desire to manage Everton's resources correctly.

Ross may value his worth to Everton greater than what Everton do. No issue there; however, we have all been in positions of employment where we desire a greater salary!!! We don't get what we want, we then look for employment elsewhere. Strangely, this is no different.

So EFC should sell Ross to the highest bidder. "Lukaku should be treated the same" I hear you all scream!! Guess what – he is! Rom wants out; EFC have set his transfer value to the club. They have done the same with Ross.

Phil Bellis
145 Posted 20/06/2017 at 12:50:01
Everton will sell Lukaku if offered £100 million; I presume that's true? So, they must have given permission for him to talk to "interested parties" for personal terms to have been agreed?

That leaves the fee between the clubs. I hope we show some balls here and insist on the full quoted asking price. What's he gonna do? Sulk for a whole season and train on his own with a World Cup coming up?

I think he'll not have come up against a manager as hard and uncompromising as Koeman before. Just don't cave in over this, Everton – let's start showing we really mean to see the end of the patronising "plucky little Everton" tag.

Daniel A Johnson
146 Posted 20/06/2017 at 13:40:29
The worry for me is that, for the sake of giving Barkley a bit more money, we could easily lose him for nothing in 12 months.

I feel he has us over a barrel more than we realise; if we get 6 months into the new season and he's still here, we would be lucky to get £10-15M for him.

Will Mabon
147 Posted 20/06/2017 at 18:39:16
Dave @ 142:

"Will (140), a good proportion of posters haven't bothered talking about what they do or don't know..."

I know, Dave. I said "...many here".

Clive Mitchell
148 Posted 20/06/2017 at 20:16:33
Will, I can't remember a better summing up of the facts of a situation than your post at #140.
Michael Kenrick
149 Posted 20/06/2017 at 20:46:31
Daniel, I think your conclusion assumes that money is the issue. Some stories have suggested that they are as much as $40k /week apart on their valuations of Barkley's worth, while others tell us it's not about money. So it comes down to what you believe beyond the known facts provided by Will (#140).

Given he is homegrown, and has a book value of £0 on EFC accounts, any money at all that we make on selling him is profit to EFC. If it's not the money, then was he looking for guaranteed playing time? Do clubs actually agree to such nonsense? I can't see Koeman being party to that, but it would be a pathetic reason not to sign, imho, as long as it's not about money.

What other valid reasons are there? You don't like the manager? Sorry, it's hard to have much sympathy. I wonder if we will ever hear the real story?

Brian Williams
150 Posted 20/06/2017 at 21:05:16
My own personal opinion, for what it's worth and that's probably not much, is that the new contract offered is not what was expected by Ross and Ross's advisors have advised him he is worth more.

Whether that was with a view to bringing an improved offer from Everton (it didn't) or a better offer from another club (nothing reported yet) is unknown.

What is known is that we're at an impasse. Until another club makes an approach, the impasse will probably just continue.

Brian Porter
151 Posted 22/06/2017 at 07:07:50
Good post, Brian Williams (#143). There doesn't seem to be much of a queue of clubs battering down the doors of Goodison in a rush to sign Ross, does there? Isn't that telling him something?

Speaking of the 'other chap', I fell about laughing when I read the report in the Express that Chelsea goalkeeper Curtois is refusing to sign a new contract unless he gets pay parity with Lukaku! FFS, they haven't even signed him and he's causing ructions in their dressing room already. Or does he mean he wants what Lukaku's legal employer, us, is paying him? No, I thought not.

Surely Chelsea have overstepped the mark in terms of tapping up, if even their players are aware of the so-called contractual agreement between Chelsea and Lukaku. Everton should be standing up for themselves and making a complaint about the blatant tapping up of our player.

Back to Ross, and I feel this whole business is destined to backfire on him very badly. If he wants to end up with a West Ham or West Brom or, God forbid a Stoke shirt on his back, and ending up as another Rodwell, he is definitely going the right way about making that happen.

Colin Glassar
152 Posted 22/06/2017 at 08:39:43
I haven't read any of the above comments, except for the above #151, so I'll give my tuppence worth at the risk of it being repetitive.

I think both of them will still be with us when the transfer window closes. Why? No-one will pay Rom's asking price and no (top) club seems to be overly excited by Ross.

These two lads have been let down by everyone around them – family, friends, advisors, agents, hangers-on etc. Ross is in a particularly difficult situation as his reputation has plummeted over the last 8 months. If he's not careful, he could end up at Newcastle.

Tony Hill
153 Posted 22/06/2017 at 09:18:21
If he stays – we're now told Tottenham have lost interest, though that could be tactical on price – I think it will be the making of him, regardless of who else we have bought or buy.
Colin Glassar
154 Posted 22/06/2017 at 10:52:11
Tony, this is a battle between Cool Hand Luke and The Cincinnati Kid. Who wins? He who blinks last.
Geoff Williams
155 Posted 22/06/2017 at 14:27:55
He's been badly advised by his agent, as has Lukaku, and there's no turning back now he has to go. If he is lucky Newcastle or Villa seem to be his only option now.

Having said that, Spurs are notorious for paying as little as they can for players and selling way over the odds.

Geoff Williams
156 Posted 22/06/2017 at 16:39:05
Colin wasn't it Minnasota Fats. Cool Hand Lake ate the boiled eggs,
Trevor Peers
157 Posted 22/06/2017 at 18:42:36
According to Sky Sports, 'Spurs will wait for Barkley' certainly no sentiment from Barkley there then. As he remains silent.

I suppose if Spurs don't actually come in for him, he will decide, 'Oh well, I've got no option, I'll have to sign a new - year £100 grand a week with this lot.' Money is money, after all...

What a disgrace! The contract we've offered him should've been be withdrawn when he refused to sign it.

Tony Abrahams
158 Posted 22/06/2017 at 18:58:42
Brian @151, it makes me think that it's Everton who want this Lukaku deal to go through the most?

All paper talk, but I don't see Ross Barkley leaving for more than £15/20 Million, especially if only one club really wants him or he has already been sounded out by a certain club that he wants to join.

If this is the case, then we will be lucky to get £15 Million for him, especially if it's Daniel Levy's Spurs. Silence really is golden, Ross!

Colin Glassar
159 Posted 23/06/2017 at 08:43:14
Luke ate the eggs and still beat Minnesota Fats, Geoff. Or was it the Cincinnati Kid? I can't remember but Levy is Luke and our Bill had better be prepared for some tough dealings.
Tony Hill
160 Posted 23/06/2017 at 08:53:54
Edward G Robinson was the man in that, wasn't he? Polyglot and art connoisseur. Like Bill.
Dave Abrahams
161 Posted 23/06/2017 at 09:09:41
Tony (#160), yes, Edward G was the man, too cool for Steve McQueen, who would have been too cool and too clever or Paul Newman, who was too hot-headed and stubborn as Cool Hand Luke.
Chris Williams
162 Posted 23/06/2017 at 09:32:42
It was The Hustler wasn't it which was like a pool version of the Cincinnati Kid?

Made a sequel a few years later.

Trevor Peers
163 Posted 23/06/2017 at 09:37:12
A better comparison is Ross playing Harpo in Duck Soup, with that deaf and dumb routine.

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