Ross for sale but not Rom?

by   |   26/04/2017  61 Comments  [Jump to last]

Over the last 6 or 7 years, Everton have become a real “smoke and mirrors” outfit – we never quite know what’s real and what’s not. Of course there is a need for discretion and we were once renowned for the club’s stealth in signing new players, but the world has changed and mobile-phone cameras, social media and the insatiable demand for round-the-clock news make such discretion more difficult. Why then should the club go to such lengths to make life even more difficult for itself by being so opaque over things it can control – such as giving us real facts about our own players?

Look at the apparently similar situations regarding Lukaku and Barkley; there are some discrepancies here when really there should be complete transparency. Take for instance the fact that a salary figure is being bandied about openly in the press and social media regarding the new contract on the table for Lukaku.

Now compare that with the Barkley situation where, unless I’m missing something, the figure always shown is his reputed current salary rather than one that has been offered in the new contract. Both of these players are high-value assets and both are popular with the fans, but whereas a proven goalscorer is very difficult to replace, that is not necessarily the case with a creative midfielder.

So is someone trying to blur the lines here? Perhaps some players “are more equal than others,” or is there in fact a hidden agenda to sell one of these two without looking as though the club had much choice in the matter? One of the main things I hoped for under Moshiri was that he or his representative would put a stop to shenanigans like this. Unfortunately it is very much ‘as you were’ and the club continues its descent into amateur smoke-screening.

Call me old-fashioned but I just love players who want to play for Everton. I would say there is no doubt that Barkley is in that category while Lukaku, self-evidently, is not. In my world, Ross Barkley is the kind of player we build a team around; yes, he could improve his goals return but all his other stats bear extremely favourable comparison with any creative midfielder in the Premier League.

Mr Koeman may see this differently but if he believes that Sigurdsson, for example, would be better for Everton than Barkley, he should quietly explain that to Ross and let him find another club (there are about 19 others in the Premier League who would want him) where he can continue his development into probably a world-class player by the time he’s about 27. And once this is done, this Summer Koeman might share that explanation with us paying supporters as to why spending £35m to buy Sigurdsson to replace Barkley was a good idea.

In the meantime, while Barkley is being publicly chastised and warned that he will be sold despite never once having intimated that he wants to leave, Lukaku openly flaunts his preferences to move away from Everton. Bizarrely, Everton publicly warn him that he’ll NOT be sold. Is this sensible planning? I think not and personally, being old school again, I’d put a stop to this.

I’d be saying, "Thanks, Rom, for all the goals this season, especially in the key games where we really needed you to come up with the winner, but it’s time for us to plan ahead now. We know you want to win the Golden Boot but, in the greater scheme of things, that does not matter to anyone but you and we know you will understand, now that we will finish 7th, possibly even 6th, and qualify for Europe, that we need you to sit on the bench while we take a closer look at how Calvert-Lewin and Lookman gel together in these next 4 games, which are still meaningful to us as a club. So here’s your flip-flops and have some fun watching the Chelsea and Man Utd in-house TV channels that you seem to enjoy so much."

And planning ahead, Everton might even yet decide to keep on nurturing a special talent and decide to see how a maturing Barkley fits in just behind those two kids up front and provides the bullets for them to fire as well as continuing to have such a positive impact on Tom Davies alongside him.

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Reader Comments (61)

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Ian Riley
1 Posted 26/04/2017 at 00:14:31
Ross should be for sale. Does he have one year left on his contract? If he does he has to go or sign the contract.

During the past three years we the fans have been waiting for the form Barkley is now showing under the guidance of a former world class player and very good manager. I don't know what salary Barkley has been offered but it must be a significant pay rise.

Lukaku will go if the price is right. He has two years left on his contract. We could keep him and take 㿅 million next season. Both players have played well at home this season. Away from home they both lack that game changing play to get three points. Koeman is being realistic​ that Barkley cannot leave on a free.

I'm an old romantic really. I would love Ross to sign a new contract after the club rewarding him four years ago with a large pay rise. The club have seen his most consistent season and it may be time to say goodbye. Well that's modern day football for you. Whatever happens, Everton FC will still be a force under Ronald Koeman.

Michael Penley
2 Posted 27/04/2017 at 01:04:12
As far as I'm aware, one year on a contract means 2 transfer windows. Which means, Ross does not "need to be sold" until January.
Christine Foster
3 Posted 27/04/2017 at 01:05:28
One has to say there is little honour on either side of the negotiation table these days. Yes, players are paid well, very well, but that's the going rate.. Players appoint agents to get the best deal for them, why? Because clubs and directors will pay as little as they can get away with if they dealt directly with the player.

It's a business and Barkley is well within his rights to negotiate the best deal he can, the threat of sale is always there irrespective of player loyalty... it's business and the club is run as a business; Ross is treating it as a business negotiation.

If we have a view its because we don't see the club as a business, we see it as family. We see it as an honour to be a player, but we also know the board of directors want their pound of flesh and some.

Loyalty is a one-way street now, demanded but not respected, why should we be surprised when players who have a contract with time to run are threatened with sale if they do not comply with the clubs wishes... Blackmail runs both ways.

John Pierce
4 Posted 27/04/2017 at 01:06:14
Koeman just doesn't fancy Barkley, never talks about him the same way he drools over Rom.

He knows what's important to the team. Goals. If Ross signs, imo he should be hesitant, he is unlikely to be first choice next season.

Gut feel, just what I think.

Gavin Johnson
5 Posted 27/04/2017 at 01:49:18
Interestingly, two players we've been linked strongly with are Sigurdsson and Rooney, either of which would probably play in Ross's position. That's unless you take the attitude its gonna be a long season and we'll need more bodies in, which is also true.

I think I'd prefer Ross to sign another contract than buy either of these two. If we signed one of them it would be Sigurdsson – his goals and assists have been very impressive over the last couple of seasons.

If it was my choice I'd like us to have all 3 of them in the squad and have Rooney contributing from attack and midfield positions.

Alan J Thompson
6 Posted 27/04/2017 at 04:48:55
Barkley is too much of a talent to be let go. If there were that many creative/skillful players around with at least seven years left in them then we should be able to name more than Sygurdsson and Rooney. What really is required is another creative player to play alongside Barkley probably in place of the three defensive midfielders we play presently.

Lukaku is a different kettle of fish having stated openly that he wants to play with a club that has qualified for the Champions League, not play with one that has yet to qualify. He may have read the tea leaves hence his demand for a lower-priced escape clause.

Jay Harris
7 Posted 27/04/2017 at 05:02:52
There is no doubt Ross Barkley has special skills and great technical ability. Unfortunately he does not score nearly enough to warrant being a Number 10. Hazard, Erikson, Alli etc have all scored double digits this season.

In addition, Ross struggles to impose himself on a game, especially against the top sides.

If we want to be top 4, Ross is not the man, I regret to say.

Alan J Thompson
8 Posted 27/04/2017 at 05:18:50
Jay (#7); You say, quite rightly, that Barkley doesn't score on a par with the three players you name but they do have good players alongside them. After all, Ball or Harvey couldn't have done it on their own and when the other two left neither could Kendall.

Before the West Ham game, Bilic was asked if he had any special plans to stop Lukaku and he answered that they had something in mind but most important was stopping the supply to him. They seemed to be helped by our tactics of never having two of the defensive midfielders in West Ham's half.

One player may prove a catalyst but he will still need the other elements to succeed.

John Barnes
9 Posted 27/04/2017 at 06:46:05
The problem with 'old school' thinking or values, Gerard, is that neither are at all relevant today. Same applies in all walks of life.

Barkley divides opinion. As such one manager might fancy him, whilst another would want to cash in. How many games does he 'win' or even influence? Lukaku is paid to score goals and he does just that.

But all players have their price, no matter where they were born or who they supported as a kid. For all the chest thumping Barkley knows that as well so don't doubt that his negotiations will be about how much? Champions league? rather than "I'm an Evertonian and all I want to do is play for the blues".

We also have to realise Everton's stature. Consider the likes of Juventus 'losing' Pogba, Atletico possibly 'losing' Griezman to Man Utd and so on. Both much bigger clubs than Everton and doing nothing more than cashing in on saleable assets and re-investing the funds generated into the team.

Pure business. That's just the way it is.

Kieran Fitzgerald
10 Posted 27/04/2017 at 06:59:49
Can we afford to wait until Ross is eventually the world class talent we want him to be? He has improved but right now is he contributing enough in the position he is playing in?

In this day and age you cannot afford to wait around. The top six teams in the league currently have better squads and better resources than us. They will constantly be improving. It looks like they will again next season and a team like Southampton for example may kick on next season and challenge us for 7th.

If a Sigurdsson or a Van Dijk will do more for the squad in the next two or three seasons than Barkley or Jagielka in their respective positions then they are the players to have. Sentiment cannot be allowed to come in to it.

Darryl Ritchie
11 Posted 27/04/2017 at 07:17:04
Lukaku and Barkley are good players. I'd like to think that we will try very hard to keep them both for a few more seasons.

They're good, but they're not great. They could be (they've both had games where each was the best player on the pitch), but they're not consistent enough. Funny thing though is that they fall short for completely different reasons;

Ross – because sometimes he tries too hard.

Rom – because at times he doesn't try at all.

John Barnes
12 Posted 27/04/2017 at 07:23:49
Spot on with your last paragraph, Kieran. That sums up the world we want to inhabit.
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 27/04/2017 at 07:37:45
Lukaku has faults but he will be much harder to replace than Barkley.

People talk about the talent and skill Barkley has but when is the last time...

He looked really dangerous to the opposition and took the game by the scruff of the neck and took the ball on and ran with it like he did in Martinez first season?
When does he ever shoot from distance?
When does he ever look like winning a header in the opposition's penalty box?
Does he look like scoring six or seven goals inside the penalty area?
Is he a dead-ball specialist?

For me you could replace Barkley, I'm reluctant only because I wanted him to truly succeed at Everton but it doesn't look like getting any better than it is.

But you could replace him with a midfielder that does what Barkley does but maybe has more strings to their bow like scoring more, being bolder on the ball and trying things, being in the box more.

Selling Lukaku you would have to replace pace, power goals with left foot, right foot and head.

For me, Lukaku will go, but we will miss him more than Barkley if he went – that's pretty obvious.

Shane Corcoran
14 Posted 27/04/2017 at 10:28:19
The question is, who is going to buy Barkley?

Seriously, if we're talking of £ 20m+ and if he's generally rated at at least Everton's level, then who of that standard is going to buy him?

Paul Tran
15 Posted 27/04/2017 at 10:43:45
Who's easier to replace; a talented and inconsistent midfielder or the league's top scorer? That's why there's a difference.

We might have more money, but it will be a challenge to attract top-notch players. I'd like to keep them both and strengthen the squad. The best help for Ross would be to learn from real quality midfielder, day-in & day-out.

Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 27/04/2017 at 12:01:48
Barkley may well be a Blue, but he is replaceable. He is a good player, nothing more.

He was hyped up too much and, although he has improved this season, under Koeman, he still has the annoying tendency to hold onto the ball for too long, and like so many players with lots of ability, he doesn't give the pass early enough because he is always hoping that he might unpick the defence on his own.

He fails to score enough goals because opponents know how to deal with him. If you back off, and pack the midfield he runs out of options and plays it square. If he chances his arm, he usually runs across the edge of the box looking to find a half-yard for a shot.

He is much more effective on the break, which is why he gets most of his goals after the team are ahead at home and the away side have had to come out, leaving gaps behind. He fails to score or create much against the big teams with better defenders.

Rom suffers from similar problems, often getting his goals later in games when defences are tiring, or teams are forced to attack, leaving space. I would have no problem with us selling Barkley, as long as we brought in the likes of Sigvardson to replace him.

Rom simply must not be sold. He is top scorer in the Premier League and is improving his game in a team in seventh place. We would have to share the goals throughout the side to make up for his loss, which would mean us playing better, more imaginative football. To do this we would need to spend all of the Lukaku money on clever, quick players, which are very thin on the ground.

Chris Gould
17 Posted 27/04/2017 at 12:39:26
Part of the reason Ross hasn't scored many goals is because there is no creativity in the team, apart from him. Everything goes through Ross. We are way too dependent on him to provide the creative spark. With better, more creative players around him, Ross would score more.

At Spurs they have Kane, Erikson, Alli, and Son setting each other up. Ross would hit double figures in that team. If we get Sigurdsson, then it must be to play alongside Ross not replace him. We need added creativity, not a like-for-like replacement.

Sigurdsson only has 4 goals from open play this season. He has scored 3 pens and 1 free kick, so he really isn't too far ahead of Ross in the goalscoring department. He has 4 more assists, but Ross plays almost twice as many passes a game as Sigurdsson. We are overly reliant on him.

We have seen how much better he has been with some youth in the team giving him a bit of support. Now I want to see how much better he can be with a classy creative player feeding him in dangerous positions and taking some of the pressure off his shoulders.

Peter Roberts
18 Posted 27/04/2017 at 12:50:46
I struggle with Barkley and his decision-making but not half as much as I struggle with Lukaku's inability to make intelligent runs for Barkley to play a ball for.

I've watched Rom for Belgium play with two of the most arguably creative midfielders in the game in Hazard and De Bruyne – they struggle to find him.

I would sooner watch Barkley play with a striker who is a better all-round player who moves intelligently than I would see us keep Lukaku and have Gylfi Sigurdsson behind him.

Aside from that, I'm sick of Lukaku and his whole transfer circus which he just loves.

Stan Schofield
19 Posted 27/04/2017 at 13:07:31
If the away form were as good as or approaching the home form, I suspect we wouldn't have so much dissection of Lukaku's and Barkley's faults. Every time we win at home this year, there's been little criticism of them, in fact the opposite. Every time we've played away, and played badly, there's been the criticism.

Clearly, something needs to be done to sort out the away form, and the root cause is unlikely to be Lukaku and Barkley.

Raymond Fox
20 Posted 27/04/2017 at 13:43:54
Lukaku will be harder to replace than Ross, nigh on impossible I'd say to get a top 4 goalscorer to come. Aquaro is mentioned in another thread, I've more chance of being the next man in space than Aquaro joining us.

If we want to be a top 4-6 team we need to keep both as Paul says earlier, plus spend 𧴜/150m on other players.

We are seventh this season, which is this squad's level and we will be seventh ish again if we don't improve the general quality of our players. Unfortunately I don't see Lukaku staying and, if that is so, that's going to be an almighty downer for me.

The finances in football, I'm thinking more of players wages, is getting well out of hand. Whether Moshiri and his like will still consider football a good place to put their money in the future is debatable.

Stan Schofield
21 Posted 27/04/2017 at 14:00:47
Raymond, spot on, apart from I'm not convinced that Lukaku won't be here next season (and perhaps beyond).

The finances in football do seem ridiculous, but I suppose what's ridiculous to us might not be so ridiculous to the businessmen like Moshiri who profit from their investments. I don't know how true this is, but I read that although Man Utd paid about 䀆M for Pogba, their income from having him on their books quickly compensated their payments. Similar could apply to Everton and Lukaku, with Moshiri possibly assessing that the value of keeping him to his current contract could outweigh the loss of potential transfer fee if he went on a free transfer at the end of that contract.

Raymond Fox
22 Posted 27/04/2017 at 17:22:21
I hope your right about Lukaku, Stan.

As far as investment is concerned, the value of the players in general goes up so I suppose that's a plus for the investor, although the replacement costs more, so it's swings and roundabouts!

Inside Ross there's a top player, pity we can't give him a confidence transplant.

Damian Wilde
23 Posted 27/04/2017 at 17:48:29
On Ross: "there are about 19 others in the Premier League who would want him, where he can continue his development into probably a world-class player by the time he's about 27."


Yeah? I can just see him strolling into the Chelsea and Spurs sides.

People are delusional about Ross 'cause "he's our diamond" an' all that. If he was signed two years ago and Russian, you'd all be saying he was shite.

He's decent at times, but isn't consistent enough, is slow at times and has poor decision making.

Want to finish 7th, Ross is your man. Want a cup and top 4, need someone else. Sell him.

Christine Foster
24 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:03:36
I said earlier in the piece that loyalty is a one way street. Listening to some of the comments in this piece its clear to see that a few fans have little or no loyalty that stretches past the last game or forward to the next.

Ross Barkley has NOT ever disparaged the club in any way, he loves the club. But the club sees him as an asset only. As Everton FC the business entity, I can understand the need to cash in an asset if its appropriate. Selling if a deal cannot be reached is good and sensible business. If a deal is reached all well and good.. but lets be clear here, the club is in negotiation to give him a new contract. Not sell. Okay?

Lukaku is different... he has stated he is going and will not sign a contract with Everton, despite the highest wage offer ever given. I cannot see Lukaku changing his mind given that he has been of similar mind for the last few years. Absolutely different set of circumstances.

I for one won't be unhappy to see him go sooner the better to be honest. You can hope Lukaku stays (he won't); you can hope Barkley goes (he won't) its all business.

Scott Hall
25 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:10:39
Koeman has played with truly world class Number 10s. He recognises quality in that position. Game changers in their own right and able to deliver that killer pass and finish that half-chance from the edge of the box.

Ross isn't even close. Sell now and replace with Rooney as a short-term solution.

Paul Ferry
26 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:17:26
John Pierce (#4). Spot on: "Koeman just doesn't fancy Barkley."

That's why he starts every game because ''Koeman just doesn't fancy" him.

Don Alexander
27 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:40:02
Paul, I suggest the main reason he plays him is because Ross has no competition in the squad for that No 10 role or whatever we call it. That's where we need major improvement by way of signings this summer.

If we get very good players in that role, Ross is history, unless he finally adds what's missing from his game, thereby becoming consistently very good – not just sometimes good, as has been the case for far too long. Like most of us, I wish it wasn't so.

Jim Hardin
28 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:49:07
"Rom has said he is leaving." Well, no... but he has said he won't sign a new contract (2 years on an existing one). He has also said he wants to play Champions League (not for a champion).

In order to reach the conclusion that he has said he is leaving, the author (and others of similar deductive powers,) must first have concluded and accepted that Everton are not now close to, and never will be, a Champions League caliber team. Sad really since there is no proof that Rom thinks that way.

As for those still backing Ross as a fountain of creativity, if he could truly do what he is supposed to, create, then why would we have to skip him and play long balls for Lukaku as a target man to trap the ball and lay it off? Isn't this exactly what many claim he cannot do? Ross passes well backwards or sideways but can't seem to tell the difference in the jersey color when trying to do so forwards.

Until Barton's announced suspension, it is arguable whether Ross, this season, was even in the top two midfielders north of London with a last name that begins with "Bar." I include Barry and Barnes in that equation.

John Pierce
29 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:58:21
Paul, politely I'm suggesting he ain't that good. As to Koeman playing him, hauled off at Sunderland; dropped at least once this season.

The number of league games he's played is directly proportional to the lack of competition for his place. Whoever we spend money on in his position will usurp him. No wonder he's hesitant on signing.

Ross couldn't handle playing in central midfield so was shoved out to right for "free roving role" by the Barkley-loving Koeman. Total vote of confidence that.

For such a vaunted player not once this season has he single-handedly won us a game. He just ain't all that.

Well I guess it was more than a feeling. Thanks for helping me tease that out. 😜

Paul Thompson
30 Posted 27/04/2017 at 20:17:19
The openin g argument of this piece was a demand that the club gives 'us real facts about our own players', so we should know hat we are offering Barkley etc.

This was ignored in the usual I don't like x or y stuff. But 'smoke and mirrors' is a necessary part of doing business in the transfer market and asking for transparency is naive.

Transparency for us, is transparency for everyone – agents, other clubs and so on. We have been told that Barkley signs or will be sold. That's enough for me and frankly the club has no other choice as running the contract down is too much of a financial risk.

There is little indication that money is the core issue with Barkley, but either way I'm with those who say that in strict market terms, he is more replaceable than Rom, though we may end up having to do both.

Ian Riley
31 Posted 27/04/2017 at 20:36:28
Michael (#2). Ross can speak to other clubs from January 1st. If you were the buying club, would you pay Everton 㿀 million in January or pay Barkley 㾶 million and take him in the summer on a free?

I know what Ross and his agent will be thinking. Sign the contract or be sold to fund further signings.

Ed Fitzgerald
32 Posted 27/04/2017 at 20:38:28
I hope they both stay even if it's for a year. We will be in the Europa league next seasons band we need additions to the squad not lose our two players who can change/win games.

Whatever the collective TW clan think about the merits of either player, you can bet there will be a queue of top clubs at home and abroad wanting to relieve us of both of them. Rom will be more difficult to replace as he does the hardest job of the lot in football – score.

And 𧴜 million is not overpriced if Pogba is worth 䀅 million?

Ian McDowell
33 Posted 27/04/2017 at 20:48:26
If the aim next season is to challenge for the Europa League and Top 4 then we need much more depth in the squad, particularly in attacking areas.
Peter Lee
34 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:58:53
Other than clubs which are plcs, which are required to make public certain information which might affect the stock price, no club gives out information publicly that tips their hand in business dealings, certainly not that which that is demanded in the opinion piece.

To expect otherwise is naïve.

Information that is in the public domain consists of leaks from agents, spouting of players (often in foreign media), phoney stories from the media, provocations from covetous clubs and, of course, leaks from clubs themselves. Those might be from minor employees "in the know" or unattributable leaks from those higher up the food chain, leaking for the benefit of the club.

What is certain is that few of us know anything about club or player intentions. We can interpret the avalanche of crap in the media and that is worthless.

All we can say about the two players involved is that Lukaku's comments seem to indicate that he wants to play in a club in the Champions League. We won't be doing that next season so, unless he is persuaded that we have the capacity to do so in 2019, and he has the patience to wait, he is likely to move.

Of course, there needs to be a willing buyer, and from Everton's point of view we need a bidding competition. If Costa goes, Chelsea are in the market but Lukaku is not the same type of striker as him. United are unlikely to set out on a Champions League campaign with a squad as meagre as the one they have but Lukaku is not the kind of striker favoured by Mourinho, he is not a Drogba.

The Spaniards are not in the market for that type of player, the Germans won't pay the money. PSG?

I suspect that anything above 㿨m would be a reach.

Paul Ferry
35 Posted 28/04/2017 at 01:01:45
Don (#27), that's an excellent point about the lack of competition for Ross's spot. I always thought that Deulofeu might be able to do a job for us there. I'm brutally hung over after.a late and long dinner party, John, and at 6:58 pm here, I seriously can't flick through my memory to find a game that Ross has changed as you ask.

I do know, however, that he has the 6th highest number of assists in the Premier League so far this season. He can clearly make a difference... Ross not a 'good player'! Deary me.

Jon Withey
36 Posted 28/04/2017 at 12:22:48
Problem with contracts ticking down is that clubs will just wait if it is a year / 6 months.
Frank Mullin
37 Posted 28/04/2017 at 14:50:13
Call me old fashioned (which I am, of course), but the royal blue runs deep through Ross's veins, unlike Rom who has no affinity towards the club & would leave at the drop of a hat to the highest bidder.

Yes, Ross frequently frustrates me so much I now have very little hair, having pulled most of it out. But, for the most part, because he is a true Blue, works for the good of the whole team, and genuinely wants to achieve success with the club, I can overlook his weaknesses, of which he certainly has several.

Ross is being asked to create more, score more, and virtually carry the team on his own because of the talent lacking in much of the squad. He needs help in the form of creative assistance in midfield and, most of all, a striker who is mobile and at least makes runs and tries to find space occasionally, rather than the lumbering giant who only tends to wake up when he gets the ball. For all his faults, one Ross Barkley is worth ten Lumpkaku's and he should be supported through quality acquisitions rather than being castigated.

The latter however needs to do no more than depart in the summer. I will lose no sleep whatsoever over this. Believe me, Lumpkaku, along with his ego, sulking and lack of effort and passion, will not be missed. There are plenty of quality replacement options out there and the quicker the changes are made, the sooner the Blues will start to fly without him.

Clive Mitchell
38 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:55:14
We should do everything possible to keep Ross Barkley.
Damian Wilde
39 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:15:26
Why Clive?
Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 28/04/2017 at 00:07:52
Paul (#30), well said and good job addressing the flawed point on which this article is based.

Everton is a business. In no other business would you have any luck demanding "complete transparency" regarding employee salaries and corporate strategies, yet Gerard demands the club tell us everything that is going on. Paul's description of that as "naive" is appropriate.

This sort of demand also seems to me to be exclusive to footy supporters. Here in the US we're in the middle of the extended circus known as the NFL draft. No fans have been seen on chat boards demanding their team go public with their draft strategies and negotiations... everyone recognizes that it's just not done, that any such disclosure would be competitive suicide. Yet here we have a blog post insisting that Everton should tell us what's going on inside the club's transfer strategy.

Uh, no.

Phil Bellis
41 Posted 29/04/2017 at 00:24:26
Don (27)... I've also been puzzled by Sky Speak "No 10"; does it mean they are left footed players? If so, why can't we get break the mould and go for a No 8?, must be more right footers in the game... Stevens, Husband etc, they were good 'uns.
Simon Jones
42 Posted 01/05/2017 at 10:29:37
Good observation, Gerard.

My gut feeling is it comes down to the straightforward rule that an out-and-out goalscorer will always be the biggest asset for a club and therefore the most valuable player to that club.

Michael Penley
43 Posted 01/05/2017 at 10:36:16
You know what, until now I assumed it would be a good thing to keep Ross and Rom. Not anymore. I don't necessarily want them to leave but I think a fresh start might be welcome.
Damian Wilde
44 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:11:45
Barkley is finished at Everton.
Guy Hastings
45 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:20:24
Kerrching! Into the coffers go squillions for either/both – Moshiri and Kenwright get away without having to dip their hands into their collective pockets again.
Gerard McKean
46 Posted 02/05/2017 at 18:37:05
As the author of the above talking point, and if the editors allow me, I'd like to point out that my title for the short article was actually “Planning Ahead”, not something about Ross for sale but not Rom. When you submit a piece to TW you have to be able to accept 1. editorial changes and 2. any criticism that comes your way; that being the whole point of “talking points” – to generate some discussion and debate.

In fact I had much sympathy and agreement with many of the comments made in response but I feel that the change of its title prevented the article from generating the kind of debate I was trying to provoke, which can be summed up thus: Lukaku has said he wants to go so we need to look to the future and put him on the bench now while we play Calvert-Lewin and Lookman together up front. He won't like that but I for one think that planning forward is more important than one guy's personal aim for the season.

The second point I wanted to see some debate about was lost in speculation as to my naivety. Here's the thing: Barkley has not commented either directly or indirectly about wanting to leave a club he clearly loves and, unlike in the other case, no details have been leaked at all regarding his new contract. Hence my reference to “smoke and mirrors”.

I may not agree personally but if the manager decides to sell and replace him then that is his prerogative. However, it is not naïve to ask simply once the dust has settled that the manager might explain why he felt a new face was necessary. This would make abundantly clear that Barkley did not agitate for a move away. If a decision is made for football reasons, fine, but say so and don't heap the blame on a player who wants to play for Everton.

Oh, and contrary to Mr Wilde's opinion, it would seem that Spurs would be first in line to try to sign him if Everton decide to dispense of his services. Maybe Pocchetino, famous for his man management, is confident he can coax the best out of a young man who obviously thrives as a “confidence player”.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
47 Posted 02/05/2017 at 19:30:18
Sorry, Gerard, but Planning Ahead was simply a far too general and opaque title. It could have been about anything... and you only touched on that in your penultimate paragraph.

I looked at the first few paragraphs for the theme you seemed to be promoting... without getting sidetracked by your moan regarding: "Why then should the club go to such lengths to make life even more difficult for itself by being so opaque over things it can control – such as giving us real facts about our own players?" Perhaps I should have protected you from the 'naivety' barbs but it does show a common frustration some fans have with the goings on, which most of us recognize must be conducted behind closed doors.

What seemed to surface for me was a direct comparison over what you assumed to be club-driven speculation surrounding the futures of Barkley and Lukaku. Hence the title: Ross for sale but not Rom?

"Perhaps some players “are more equal than others” or is there in fact a hidden agenda to sell one of these two without looking as though the club had much choice in the matter?"

To be honest, I thought we'd enough recent threads on both Barkley and Lukaku and we needed a break, so I was close to pressing 'delete'... but there was at least a hint of a different twist there, and maybe something of interest in the "compare and contrast" angle.

If playing Calvert-Lewin and Lookman together while dropping Lukaku was in fact your main "talking point", I don't think I was alone in missing it, seeing as how it was buried in that penultimate paragraph, under the guise of some hypothetical speech you would deliver to Lukaku, thus straining credibility – and nobody else has commented on it.

You complain about "smoke and mirrors", and say above "it is not naïve to ask simply once the dust has settled that the manager might explain why he felt a new face was necessary." Well, nothing's happened yet beyond Barkley not signing his contract. Koeman has been as clear as day on that issue. Koeman may explain things to your satisfaction or he may not. We all scratch around for the crumbs that drop from the top table...

Don Alexander
48 Posted 02/05/2017 at 20:24:47
Phil Bellis (#41), I only use the term "No 10" because it seems to have become today's parlance for play-maker/scorer.

Not that I expect Ross to be anything like on a par with any of them I call the likes of Zidane, Platini, Cruyff, Gullit and Michael Laudrup the ultimate in the role. As for which foot such genius's favour, who gives a fuck! :)

Colin Glassar
49 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:16:18
I'm coming to the sad conclusion that Ross might be allowed to leave if the right offer comes along.

I just don't think Ross suits the transition game Koeman wants to play. He slows things down (not always his fault), tends to over complicate things and refuses to take shots at goal (which is maddening as we can remember some of his screamers).

Ross, imo, is a fine player but his timid play, poor decision making and lack of clarity at important times of a game can be maddening to both manager and fans alike. The talent is there. He's like a prize bull but he refuses to step up and claim the rosette. If Ross had half the self belief that Rom has then he'd be a world beater.

Tony Hill
50 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:43:53
Yes, it's saddening, Colin, it really is. I think he's more talented than Alli and most others, but he doesn't deliver when it matters.

In that deficiency he's not alone at our club, but there's something always holding him back and I don't see him conquering the self-doubt with us. Will he do so anywhere else? I hope so but fear not.

Most of us will know someone like Ross or have encountered someone like him in life: hugely gifted but almost paralysed by his gifts. It's a bind and a curse and it doesn't mean he can't still be very good when there's no pressure. But that's the point, very good some of the time isn't good enough for Ross and he turns in on himself and tries too hard and when he tries too hard he loses his flair and spontaneity and everything is laboured.

Watching Ronaldo tonight, you see there a man of enormous talent, certainly, but you also see someone with impregnable self-confidence and that's what sets him and the greats apart. Ross doesn't share the magic.

Ian McDowell
51 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:50:33
Colin, you're spot on about Ross. He has a great shot on him but I can't remember the last time he scored from distance. I don't think we should give up on him yet. It would be interesting to see how he plays with someone like Gylfi Sigurdsson who can also create and maybe relieve some of the burden.
Colin Glassar
52 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:04:42
In boxing terms I'd compare Ross to Joe Bugner. Joe had everything i.e. Height, weight, jab, the works but he always held back. When he got his big chance against Ali, Bugner threw one punch during the entire fight and rode into the night never to fulfil his potential. I just hope Ross doesn't end up forgotten like Joe is today.
Brian Wilkinson
53 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:06:13
How about a poll, Ed, on Lukaku staying or selling and another for Ross?
Ian McDowell
54 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:09:20
I'm up for both staying. In the summer we need a GK, RB, CB, AM, Winger and a FWD as a minimum before players leave.
Jim Hardin
55 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:12:22
Collin and Ian,

Hypothetically, assume Everton arescouting an attacking mid for the summer who was young (23) from Birmingham and wanted your opinion on him. His listed attributes are he is often timid, slows things down, passes back and sideways more than forwards, plays very little defence, turns the ball over too much, shows poor decision-making, has an ability to score the very occasional screamer from a distance, and who has scored 3 goals all season. I wonder what your recommendation to buy or pass on him would be?

This fascination with players whose love of the club doesn't meet their over-hyped potential amazes me. Move him on and get a real attacking mid to link play and balance the left side of the formation through the midfield. He would never play with Sigurdsson as Gylfi would be playing and Ross would be on the bench, or out of the squad watching.

John G Davies
56 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:15:44
Colin (#52),

Ross reminds me more of this boxer:

Bill Gall
58 Posted 02/05/2017 at 23:28:37
Lukaku says he wants to play for a team in the Champions league. If he goes and wants to be in a winning Championship team that is going to be very limited, as looking at the last 4 teams, I do not see any of them wanting him, except maybe Monaco.

England may have the best league in Europe but when they come up against the best of the Spanish, German, Italian and even the French our representatives do not seem to have the quality.

I would be surprised, despite the talk, if Chelsea or Man City would go for him, definitely not Liverpool or Tottenham so it only leaves Man Utd.if they finish 4th or win the Europa.

Keeping him could be an option but that would depend on the players who are brought in. Instead of Rooney I think Mata is a better option if we could get him. Definitely up to the management to be really bold and decisive on their transfer dealings, starting as soon as the window opens.

As far as Barkley goes, how long can you wait for him to improve? After all his poor performances are starting to outweigh his good ones.

John Pierce
59 Posted 03/05/2017 at 00:55:25
It is sad to see a young player drifting towards the exit. I do believe that's it for Ross. I made the following point about both Rom and Ross after the West ham game.

That I couldn't remember the last time either just decided to decide the game themselves, as our star players why do they rarely rise above mediocrity and just win it for us. Furthermore Ross was a player who would get me out of his seat, mainly by bringing the ball down exquisitely, and driving on beating 1 or 2 often ending in a shot from distance.

When was the last time Ross got your backside going north? For me I cannot recall. Is that it in a nutshell?

He lacks the continual purpose to be the man, be the man Ross!

Ross Edwards
60 Posted 03/05/2017 at 01:14:49
I know Koeman said Ross would be sold if he doesn't sign a contract but if that were to happen, where would he go? He wouldn't get into any of the top 4 sides. Spurs were linked in one or two papers but there's no way Pochettino would drop Alli or Eriksen to accommodate him.

Obviously he wouldn't contemplate Liverpool; he doesn't seem a Conte type player so that's Chelsea out, and he won't dislodge the likes of Silva or De Bruyne from the City midfield either.

As for Man Utd, if you believe the papers they are going to have a very expensive summer and will probably look for players of a higher calibre than him. Even if they were to sign him would he get in ahead of Mikhitaryan, Mata and the like? No.

Arsenal? Would he get in over Ozil? No. He's staying put for sure. If he leaves he'll risk being reduced to a bench player elsewhere.

Gary Hughes
62 Posted 05/05/2017 at 00:53:48
Like most people, I've run out of patience with Ross; sadly, he never fails to disappoint. He's one of our own and I really want him to succeed but it looks more and more likely that he'll be moved on.

However, I think there might be an answer: for me, he does nothing to justify the free role playmaker position he's had for four full seasons but I think he could be given a defined disciplined role wide on the right with strict instructions to get up and down in a role similar to that Beckham had at Manchester United. Look at the quality cross to Rom against Leicester – that's what he's capable of.

A good manager should manage him correctly & utilise his undoubted talent for the benefit of the team instead of indulging him as a brainless No 10. All is not lost... yet.

Peter Thistle
63 Posted 13/05/2017 at 03:07:51
The difference is Rom could get us into the Champions League spot with his goals; it might be worth losing money on him to keep him another season.

Ross, on the other hand, will not add anything much to get us into the top four. Simple logic... Mr Unrealiable.

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