Manchester United Transfer News: Ross Barkley a Bad Mistake by David Moyes

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 31, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Ross Barkley of Everton shows his dejection after missing a goal scoring chance during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Sunderland at Goodison Park on December 26, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

In another attempt to raid former club Everton of their assets, Manchester United manager David Moyes has been linked with a move for Ross Barkley this winter.

However, the youngster's rise to prominence this season has allegedly made him one of the hottest commodities in Europe; that's if latest valuations are anything to go by.

James Robson of the Manchester Evening News has reported that a fee of £50 million is being prepared as an offer for Barkley's services, an exorbitant amount when one considers the club might have made the signing for a far smaller sum over the summer.

SWANSEA, WALES - DECEMBER 22:  Ross Barkley of Evertonin action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Everton at the Liberty Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

United's struggles in central midfield have been well noted this season, and the club's acquisition of Marouane Fellaini hasn't had the desired impact at Old Trafford.

An excerpt from Robson'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.

Red Devils would like to think that they ended up with the best Toffees recruit possible this summer, but early season form would suggest that Barkley may have indeed been the Everton star that Moyes should have plumped for.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Ross Barkley of England holds off Sven Bender of Germany during the international friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on November 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Image
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The 20-year-old has three goals to his name from his 15 Premier League starts so far this season, per, easily his most involved campaign as a senior figure at Goodison Park.

The New York Times' Stefan Bienkowski questions whether United should chase Barkley given the competition he'd be facing at the Theatre of Dreams:

During that time, the starlet has earned his first England cap and is helping to encourage speculation regarding a place in Roy Hodgson's 2014 World Cup squad.

Barkley is of course showing good reason behind his supposedly increased valuation, but when one considers that £50 million is, on paper at least, enough to finance moves for some of the world's most established stars, the figures don't quite add up.

The Daily Mail's Joe Strange questions the validity of the link given that Fellaini and Leighton Baines were rumoured with much smaller figures linked to their names in the past:

Everton have become known for driving a hard bargain for their stars under Moyes, and it seems they have a figure willing to be just as stingy in Roberto Martinez.

Barkley is in good hands developing under his new manager and Martinez has already shown that he has the tools necessary for improvement on Merseyside.

Although Moyes won't want to lose touch with the importance of developing younger talent at United, spending such an inordinate amount on a prospect of Barkley's kind also defeats the purpose of the club's usual model when it comes to buying players young.

Given the current situation at the Theatre of Dreams, the Premier League champions are in greater need of a more immediate impact, with Barkley's case representing plenty of risk but not as much sign of swift reward.