Everton have yet been unable to come to terms on a new contract with midfielder Ross Barkley despite the 24-year-old having one year left on his current deal.
Now, according to reports, they have set a £50 million price tag on his head, if he is to move on this summer.
Rumours have been around since December when Everton had reportedly offered Barkley a new deal but that was seemingly rubbished when Ronald Koeman stated no deal had been offered.
Since then, Koeman has warned that Barkley must sign a new contract before this summer or he risks being sold. The Dutchman has also pointed towards the midfielder having questions about the future and his ambitions of playing in the Champions League.
Dangling the contract in front of Barkley like a metaphorical carrot on a stick seemingly worked when the midfielders form turned around and he started playing more consistency. Since then though, Barkley has hit another rough patch of form in terms of racking up assists and scoring goals.
Barkley has begun to contribute more in terms of work rate and in his all-around game and while he still leads the Everton squad in assists with eight for the season, he’s yet to hit the heights that fans know he can reach.
Everton can’t risk losing another key player
Everton are in a position where they cannot afford to lose yet another key player, especially one like Barkley where his whole future is still ahead of him.
Barkley is a key building block for the future and is viewed that way by the Everton but it is unclear whether or not the midfielder is fully focused on his Everton future rather than playing for England or in the Champions League.
For some, the midfielder has been overtaken by Tom Davies as the Blues new homegrown hope but he still possesses the skills and ability that caught the attention Everton coaches when he was drafted into first team training at 16-years-old.
To put an end to this contract stand-off, Everton higher ups would like Barkley to put pen to paper on a new deal and keep him tied down as a key player for the future, which is why they have placed such a high price on a player with only one year remaining on his current contract.
This weekend will provide answers
Barkley’s future will once again be the main subject of Koeman’s Friday afternoon pre-match press conference and that is likely to provide the answer to the ongoing situation.