David Unsworth says he wants to speak to Ross Barkley regarding his Everton future and hopes he can convince the 23-year-old to stay with his boyhood club.
The Blues midfielder had been expected to leave Goodison Park during the summer transfer window but when a possible deadline day move to Chelsea came about, Barkley rejected the move due to being injured.
Barkley has been sidelined with a hamstring injury that has required surgery since August and is yet to appear for the Toffees this campaign but the interim boss is keen to discuss the 23-year-old’s future.
Unsworth said: “I would absolutely love Ross to stay.”
“He is a top talent. Everton has done great for him and he has done great for Everton. He could be one of the all-time greats here.”
Before adding: “I would love him to be persuaded by myself and the chairman to stay and sign a contract. We shouldn’t be losing players of his quality. I feel very strongly that we shouldn’t be losing our own.”
The 23-year-old England international will only have six months left on his contract in January is free to discuss pre-contracts with other clubs from the first of January.
“I’d love him to sit down and have a cup of tea with me and discuss the possibility of signing and staying here,” added Unsworth. “We love him and I know he loves Everton as well.
“I want everybody to come together and hopefully we can thrash something out.”
A way back for Barkley
In July, former Everton boss Ronald Koeman revealed that Barkley had rejected a new contract at the club and was looking for, in his words, a new challenge.
Koeman stated that if the player maintained a level of professionalism, he could work with him if he was still at the club come the close of the summer transfer window.
Barkley’s hamstring injury setback has made the situation difficult.
When the midfielder was returning to first-team training, he aggravated the injury to the point where it needed surgery and he would reportedly be sidelined until November at the earliest.
That’s meant he’s been away from what was Koeman’s squad and hasn’t been able to train with them, relegated to gym and rehab sessions designed for him.
Following Koeman’s comments, there had been little to no coverage of Barkley on Everton’s media channels up until recently where he could be spotted in photos and videos of the squad at Finch Farm.
Now, with Unsworth’s comments, it appears as if Barkley does indeed have a way back if he wants it.
A Toffee who comes from Wavertree
Whilst Everton invested vast sums in players of a similar position to Barkley, none quite have the ability to change a game like he does.
The big summer signing, Gylfi Sigurdsson, is a fantastically creative player with an unrivalled delivery from set-pieces but he has failed to influence games during his early time at Goodison Park.
Some rough edges still remain as a part of Barkley’s part. Everton’s diamond is yet the final, polished article but the mercurial talent he possesses isn’t quite reflected in the rest of the Blues’ squad.
There may be a logjam in the attacking midfield role that the 23-year-old may have to navigate if he is to stay on Merseyside but until Unsworth, or a different new boss, Barkley potentially gets a new lease of life, not seen since Roberto Martinez’s time in charge of Everton.
Just like Unsworth, there is hope from many that the Gwladys Street will be singing “We’ve got a Diamond” in full voice once again.