David Moyes will again look to his old club for squad recruitment this winter after it emerged that the Manchester United boss is interested in striking a big-money move for Everton's Ross Barkley.
It was only four months ago that the Scot sealed a late-summer reunion with his biggest Toffees signing Marouane Fellaini, but Moyes is now entering the hunt for the club's most prodigious talent.
Barkley has shot to stardom at Goodison Park this season, making 15 starts under Roberto Martinez and scoring three goals, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
James Robson of the Manchester Evening News has reported that the Red Devils are now preparing a £50 million swoop for the England international.
An excerpt from Mathieson's report reads:
United – who made a last-ditch attempt to sign Bale before his summer move to Real Madrid – do not want to miss out on another superstar of British football.
They believe a bid of £50m will be enough to get Everton around the negotiating table – but the Premier League champions also know there will be plenty of bridge-building if there is any chance of a deal being done.
The fee mentioned is almost twice the £27.5 million paid for Fellaini's services over the summer, with the Belgian yet to have the desired impact at Old Trafford and currently out of action after having surgery on his wrist.
It was just last week that Martinez was quoted by Andy Hunter of The Guardian saying that Barkley wasn't for sale at any price.
Heaping praise on his starlet, the Spaniard said:
Ross is in a moment of his career where first, he knows that he needs to carry on developing and this is the perfect place to do that. Second, he is a mad Evertonian and enjoying every single second. And third, we are in the middle of a season where we would never, ever consider disrupting what we have got in our squad now.
The Times' Tony Barrett backs up some of Martinez's statement, convinced that the 20-year-old's apparent passion for being a success at his boyhood club could be enough to see him turn down any United advance:
RE that United to make bid for Barkley story, can't see either Everton accepting an offer or Barkley wanting to go.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) December 30, 2013
@TCers21 Because there are few players who are as happy at his club as Barkley is right now.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) December 30, 2013
Barkley's contributions are part of the reason that the Toffees currently sit three points and two places ahead of United in the Premier League table, only further answering the query as to why Barkley would leave his current setting.
The youngster is in the process of breaking into Roy Hodgson's England squad and would by no means be hoping to spoil any chances of earning a place in the team that flies to Brazil.
For now, at least, it doesn't seem as if money will be sufficient to lure Barkley, whose sentiment for Everton may ultimately reign above all else.
However, United would likely use Wayne Rooney's global success as an example of what Barkley might achieve if he swaps Goodison Park for Old Trafford.