Ross Barkley has finally cut the tension on his Everton future. Manager Ronald Koeman has announced that the midfielder, who came through the youth ranks at Everton in something of an explosion, wishes for a move away.
Is this wise?
Koeman spoke of how Barkley made it clear he wanted a new challenge which Everton could not provide him.
But Barkley has failed to register that Everton have very much proved themselves a team in transition.
Since acquiring the services of Koeman amid a club takeover in June last year, Everton have hit heights the managed to reach under David Moyes.
Not content with simply qualifying for the Europa League for next season, Koeman has set about assembling a team of depth and talent. Already injecting £200m of fresh meat into his squad, he is preparing for an assault on the top four.
How this level of ambition has surpassed Barkley remains a mystery.
Is Barkley Worthy Of A Better Club?
He was the heir to Wayne Rooney’s throne when he bounced onto the scene as a 19-year-old. His early performances suggested prodigious talent which needed to be nurtured gently.
As the seasons progressed, Barkley failed to live up to the early hype. Though his Premier League appearances suggest he is started more games, he is simply not performing.
Barkley’ stats in the Premier League over the last four seasons
Further to this, Everton value their number 8 at £50m. A frankly ludicrous sum of money only justified if Barkley had performed to expectation. It is anticipated that Everton will cash on him for considerably less rather than lose him for nothing in 12 months.
Where Does He Go Now?
Barkley has several options. His talents have not escaped the attentions of Spurs. But it is unlikely Barkley, on current form, could displace Dele Alli, a player with whom such comparison can be drawn to.
Arsenal are not out of the picture and appear a likelier option given the uncertainty surrounding several of their key men. The loss of European football will hurt their chances of buying heavyweight names. But Barkley may come out on top given the success of youngsters like Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie before him.
Can He Flourish?
Yes, of course. But he has a lot of hard work to put in wherever he goes.
The fact that Alli has won back to back PFA Young Player Of The Year awards should be enough to kick Barkley into life.
He is like wildfire when he wants to be. He is rapid on the ball, intelligent with it, and has terrific positioning off it. But he has looked out of sorts of late. Consider then that he made the most appearances for Everton through the season, along with Romelu Lukaku and Ashley Williams, his side have succeeded with Lukaku and Idrissa Gueye at the forefront. Barkley meanwhile has been wasteful.
With Lukaku gone, Barkley could have provided a platform for his baptism of fire. But wherever he goes, he must still hope that his promise can be nurtured in the same way that Everton could have given him.