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.
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.
The 20-year-old has three goals to his name from his 15 Premier League starts so far this season, per Transfermarkt.co.uk, 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:
Ross Barkley to Man Utd sounds like a lazy rumour. Wouldn't we consider the player an attacking mid in the same role as Rooney and Kagawa?— Stefan Bienkowski (@SBienkowski) December 30, 2013
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:
Moyes rated TWO of his best Everton players at £28m last summer. Now he's going to offer £50m for one he barely included. Seems legit.. #EFC— Joe Strange (@joe_strange) December 30, 2013
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.
Would Barkely be worth United breaking their transfer record?
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.