Ross Barkley will be rewarded for his fine season with a new Everton contract in February, according to David Anderson of the Mirror:
The 20-year-old Toffees star has enjoyed a breakout campaign under Roberto Martinez and is rumoured to be grabbing the attention of Chelsea, as reported by Matt Law of The Telegraph:
Chelsea's willingness to allow Juan Mata to join Manchester United for £37 million is part of a long-term strategy to try to land Everton's young star Ross Barkley.
Even though a deal for Mata should be completed quickly, there is little chance of Chelsea immediately using the money to sign Barkley, who is out injured with a broken toe.
While Jose Mourinho may be eyeing Barkley as a replacement for Juan Mata, there's no doubt he will have to pay a premium price to secure the youngster's future.
Martinez previously suggested even a world-record fee of £86 million may not be enough, according to David Maddock of the Mirror.
Barkley has made 19 appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals on Everton's quest to capture European football, per WhoScored.
His confidence on the ball and energetic displays have gained many plaudits, and if reports are to be believed, Martinez faces a battle to keep the starlet in the long term.
Meanwhile, Chris Richards of the Mirror believes Jose Mourinho may launch a second bid to sign Wayne Rooney during the summer.
It seems the Portuguese manager is looking to reinforce his squad with a powerful attacking presence—someone who can add a sense of physicality to Chelsea's currently lightweight forward line.
Barkley certainly comes under this category. Despite his age, the England international is able to throw his weight around against opponents who have had longer to develop.
He could strike an enticing balance alongside the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian, who have the technical ability to float beyond challenges without an intimidating sense of muscle.
Barkley looks set to have a prosperous future wherever he ends up, but Everton fans will be desperate to maintain their latest talent. Rooney left the club for the riches of Manchester United a decade ago, and since then, Everton have struggled to produce a youngster of his nature—until Barkley.
Martinez will hope he can tie the local player down to a lengthy contract, as he will with Leighton Baines. Everton have improved massively under the Spanish manager, but if Goodison Park is to see European football on a regular basis, they must maintain their top stars.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!