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Manchester United Transfer News: Ross Barkley Interest Amid Tottenham Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Ross Barkley of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on May 12, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly interested in a move for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, although the Red Devils are said to face serious competition from Tottenham Hotspur for the player's signature. 

As Andy Hunter of the Guardian reported, Toffees boss Ronald Koeman recently confirmed the England international is set to leave Goodison Park this summer in search of a "new challenge." And a couple of the Premier League's elite appear keen on landing him.

"Barkley is believed to be open to a transfer to Old Trafford, although United's interest is not thought to be as strong as Tottenham's," said Hunter, who also suggested Arsenal are monitoring the situation.

Bleacher Report's Dean Jones also noted Spurs are at the head of the queue to sign the 23-year-old:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

Here's how Ross Barkley might look next season 👇🏼 https://t.co/1AAwj8nIdG https://t.co/IOXffEex2r

Koeman added that there have been no bids for the playmaker but that he is "looking to other players." According to Hunter, Barkey's future will most likely be resolved late in the transfer window; he has under a year remaining on his Everton contract.

When Barkley burst on to the scene during the 2013-14 season, he was expected to become one of the finest players in English football. Former manager Roberto Martinez compared the midfielder to Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack during that campaign, per ESPN.co.uk.

Barkley may be working under Pochettino instead of Koeman next season.
Barkley may be working under Pochettino instead of Koeman next season.Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

But that season remains the high point of Barkley's Everton career. The swashbuckling runs he used to embark on are scarcely seen, while his productivity in the final third has also plateaued.

What he did do under Koeman last season was become a more creative footballer, as evidenced by these statistics from Squawka Football:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Ross Barkley’s chances created in the Premier League since 2013/14: 2013/14: 25 2014/15: 33 2015/16: 55 2016/17: 84 Marked improvement. 📈 https://t.co/L93YsR1cGn

That ability is what is likely attracting teams such as United and Tottenham to Barkley.

Barkley, after all, is strong in possession, can move quickly across the pitch and is excellent technically. If the kinks can be ironed out, he could still be a fine midfielder.

Pochettino has helped a clutch of English players do that at Spurs, with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Eric Dier all thriving under the coach's guidance. However, sports broadcaster Adam Catterall can't see where he fits in at Tottenham, United or any side in the top six:

Adam Catterall @AdamCatterall

Ross Barkley is looking for a 'new challenge' 🤔 Like what? A relegation fight? There's no way he gets in to ANY top 6 first 11. Silly lad

If Barkley were to follow Romelu Lukaku to Old Trafford, it'd be interesting to see how he performed under United boss Jose Mourinho. His displays have not been good enough to suggest he is capable of forcing his way into the Red Devils XI on a regular basis.

The same goes for Spurs, who have Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min and Erik Lamela all fighting for similar berths in the team. Barkley, should he move to either side, would need to make rapid progress to ensure he doesn't become the latest English hope to fail to deliver on his undoubted potential.

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