After a summer of seismic change at Old Trafford, you suspect this January window as well as the upcoming summer break will be when David Moyes looks to make his mark in the transfer market.
One natural link to make—and one that has been made, per ESPN.co.uk—is between Moyes and his former Everton protege Ross Barkley. And if the young Wavetree lad were to make the move down the M62, he’d eventually become a United icon in the same manner as fellow former Toffee Wayne Rooney.
Barkley has plenty of traits that mirror those of Rooney, and United currently lack the attributes he offers—primarily, a fearless, dynamic attacking presence from the midfield area.
The 20-year-old Everton man has showcased all of these talents in abundance this season. He’s played primarily off centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, and has been given the freedom by Roberto Martinez to roam about the pitch and influence the play in dangerous areas.
The results have been wonderful to watch, and Barkley is showing the type of ability that has led Martin Keown to hail the player as one of the best we are ever likely to see come out of England, per Metro.
|Ross Barkley Stats 2013/14|
|Average Successful Dribbles Per Game||2.8|
|Average Key Passes Per Game||1|
United have typically been in for this type of player down the years, highlighted no more so than by their capture of Rooney, not to mention the big money paid for Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Wilfried Zaha. And they will surely harbour an interest in this prodigious young talent.
If a deal were to be done, Barkley could become a legend at Old Trafford. He looks to be the outstanding talent of his generation, and whilst he has operated in an advanced midfield role in his breakthrough campaign, the general expectation is that he will blossom into an orthodox central-midfield player.
A position for which United need reinforcements? Absolutely. Hypothetically, if a deal were to be done in the January window or in the summer of 2014, Barkley could be United’s central-midfield stalwart for the next decade.
Martinez has made comparisons between Barkley and illustrious names like Michael Ballack and Paul Gascoigne. But he is a very unique talent, and one that would improve United’s midfield enormously.
Could a deal will be done? Well, the Everton boss has insisted that a reported fee of £50 million wouldn’t be enough to take the England midfielder on loan, and that was after claiming not even a world-record fee would convince the Merseyside outfit to sell up.
A new contract is reportedly in the pipeline for Barkley, and you suspect there are bridges to be built after the war of words between the two clubs following United’s "derisory" pursuit of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, per the Mirror's David Anderson. Much also depends on whether or not United, or Everton for that matter, can qualify for the Champions League.
But as is often the case in football, money talks. And despite Martinez previously citing Everton’s strong financial position, a £50 million bid for a 20-year-old player would certainly make chairman Bill Kenwright stand up and take note.
Much depends on the player himself, too. Barkley is an Evertonian living the dream. He’s wearing the royal blue on a weekly basis, bagging assists, scoring goals and putting in match-winning performances. Would he want to leave that all behind him at such an early stage in his career?
There are also plenty of question marks over the relationship between Moyes and the youngster.
Moyes gave Barkley his bow, of course. But there was a general impression that Barkley was always one stray pass or defensive lapse away from being out of the team. So much so that Barkley found himself behind the likes of Phil Neville, John Heitinga and even Thomas Hitzlsperger in the Goodison Park midfield pecking order.
Old Trafford is a much more illustrious and downright tempting stage, though. If they can get him, Barkley would be a marvelous signing for United. But there is much work to be done between the clubs before a deal can even be considered.