Sport Soccer

Friday 23 August 2019

Everton contract talks with Barkley not an immediate priority for boss Koeman

Ross Barkley has 18 months remaining on his Everton contract
Ross Barkley has 18 months remaining on his Everton contract
Long-serving left-back Leighton Baines has committed himself to Everton

Everton boss Ronald Koeman is planning contract talks with Ross Barkley in the new year but insists tying the playmaker down to a new deal is not a pressing priority.

Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry and young defender Mason Holgate all signed new terms on Friday, keeping them at the club until 2018, 2019 and 2021 respectively.

Barkley's contract runs out in the summer of 2018 and the 23-year-old has this week been linked with a move to Tottenham.

Koeman said: "We know it's about 18 months of contract. I think it's not the priority now. Of course, in the new year, we will have talks about his situation and about his future. But the priority now is playing and winning and we will see what happens in January."

Barkley has had a difficult start to life under Koeman, who has publicly challenged the England man to do better and left him out of the side for the recent games against Manchester United and Watford.

But Barkley was back in the team against Arsenal on Tuesday and produced an encouraging display in the second half, setting up the winner for Ashley Williams.

Koeman insisted there has been no contact from Spurs, saying of the rumours: "I'm not interested in what you write about the futures of players because there's nobody knocking on the door."

The Toffees boss welcomed the news of Baines, Barry and Holgate's new deals.

Baines is in his 10th season at the club having joined from Wigan in the summer of 2007 and has gone on to make more than 350 appearances for the club.

With 609 Premier League appearances, Barry sits behind only Ryan Giggs on the all-time list and is likely to overtake the Welshman's tally of 632 next season.

Twenty-year-old defender Holgate made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the season and has impressed Koeman.

The Dutchman said: "Of course I am happy. If I don't see any future for these players then they don't sign new contracts.

"Gareth has showed this season that he's still a key player for the team and of course he's still fit. Fitness wise he's very good to play one more year for Everton.

"Leighton showed to be one of the key players defensively, good boy, and he's a little bit younger than Gareth and I'm happy that he will stay.

"Mason, we know he's a big talent. He's played already four or five games in the Premier League. He's the future for the club."

Baines, 32, is hoping to finish his career at Goodison Park.

He told the club website: "The majority of my career I've spent here at Everton and it's something that I hope will continue even beyond these next few years. I hope I'm always affiliated with Everton."

Barry could return to the side for Monday's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park after being rested against Arsenal but captain Phil Jagielka misses out following his late red card in midweek.

Recent history makes miserable reading for the blue half of the city, with Everton without a win since 2010 and having come out on top of just one of the last 19 meetings against Liverpool in the Premier League.

This will be Koeman's first taste of the fixture and he was bullish about his side's chances.

"It's not good, one out of 19," he said. "You need to accept how difficult it is, win the game and make the fans happy.

"They are strong, they are doing well, but they lost their way against Bournemouth, they had a draw against West Ham. It's not so difficult because, if Bournemouth can win against Liverpool, we also have a possibility to win the game."

Koeman, meanwhile, revealed that winger Yannick Bolasie has undergone his first knee operation but must now wait for more surgery before beginning the long road back.

"He had his first surgery, which was about his meniscus," said the Everton boss. "Now the boy needs to wait around eight to 10 weeks when they do the surgery about his (cruciate ligament). But he will be out for a long time."

PA Media

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