Barkley set for bumper Toffees deal
Ross Barkley is in line for a new contract to reflect his emergence as one of the Premier League's most highly rated young players.
Everton are expected to discuss an extension with Barkley's representatives in the new year, with the terms likely to include a significant pay rise for the England midfielder.
The 20-year-old has been outstanding this season under new Everton manager Roberto Martinez and remains on the radar of the elite clubs in England, such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Barkley was described by Martinez as "unique" after his man-of-the-match performance against Arsenal on Sunday and his growing influence at the Merseyside club has given him a genuine chance of earning a place in the England squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.
The attacking midfielder signed a long-term deal shortly after his 18th birthday, which still has more than two years left to run, but Everton are poised to offer Barkley another year and a salary rise. Everton are determined to stop him following other academy graduates, such as Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell, who left the club at a young age.
Barkley's form has not gone unnoticed by England manager Roy Hodgson. He has made three appearances as a substitute this season, with a fourth expected in the friendly against Denmark in March.
But Martinez is keen to calm the hype around the player's rapid rise. He said: "What we need to do is make sure we give Ross another 50 starts. We need to be more protective of our youngsters because, in Ross, we have someone who, if we look after him, can give us something unique."
Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin are also to be offered improved terms. Baines will be rewarded for his loyalty in the face of interest from Manchester United, while Distin is to be offered a 12-month contract extension. (© Daily Telegraph, London)