A whopping £50 million has been quoted as a starting price, with the Red Devils all too aware they need to begin building bridges—following past acquisitions of Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini and David Moyes—to get anywhere on the deal.
Per the MEN report:
Roberto Martinez insists that not even a Gareth Bale-sized bid of £86m would be enough to prise the 20-year-old away from Goodison Park—but the Merseysiders are bracing themselves for a host of big-money offers in January.
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.
Will it happen this winter? Probably not, but once United set their sights on a player, it usually happens at some point. If Barkley is to make the move from Goodison Park to Old Trafford, how will he fit in?
The short answer is: brilliantly.
Ross Barkley is a wonderful young talent who combines technical ability and an eye for goal with raw physical ability.
He's one of a number of players perfectly suited to the modern game, and he's a prime example of the new-age hybrid CM/AMC players who are beginning to dominate matches.
Aside from the tangible strengths he possesses—namely passing range, tackling, dribbling and shooting—he adds several extra elements that set him apart from most others.
Despite being just 20, he has a massive frame, and he uses his size and strength well to chase, harry and pressure opposing players. He also boasts impressive speed, and when he gets going he's very difficult to bring down.
These elements combine and allow him to play anywhere—literally anywhere—in the midfield, be it as a No. 10, a flat CM, a hybrid CM or a shuttler from deep.
He has the burst and power to surge forward and really grab the game by the scruff of its neck, and, in a few short years, he will be owning, controlling and dominating midfields single-handedly.
He can play in any formation, and he proved during the FIFA U-20 World Cup that he can perform in environments outside his regular Everton blue.
If there's one criticism you can throw at United right now, it's their lack of midfield "presence" and subsequent over-reliance on Wayne Rooney. There's not enough energy, they lack a general and Barkley can easily become that player.
£50 million is a gargantuan sum, but there's no safer, more sure English prospect to spend it on.