Friday 20 April 2018

Everton vow to reject even 'Bale-sized' January offers for Barkley

Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Swansea on Sunday
Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Swansea on Sunday

Tim Rich

Everton would not sell Ross Barkley, even if they received a "Gareth Bale-sized valuation" next month.

However, manager Roberto Martinez is aware of the comparisons between the 20-year-old midfielder and Wayne Rooney. Both are Everton fans around whom a team could be built. Rooney was sold to Manchester United in 2004 before Goodison Park felt the true benefits of his talent. Martinez is confident that this time Everton will hold on to their crown jewel -- at least in the short term.

"We are probably in the strongest financial position we have been for a long, long time," he said. "Even if we got a Gareth Bale-sized valuation, we would never, ever consider it in January.

"Ross is in a moment of his career where, first, he knows he needs to carry on developing and this is the perfect place to do that. Second, he is a mad Evertonian and enjoying every single second. Third, we are in the middle of a season where we would never, ever consider disrupting what we have got in our squad now."

That would imply Martinez is ready to repulse further attempts by Manchester United to take Leighton Baines to Old Trafford. The Everton manager was far more circumspect when asked what would happen if the club received substantial bids for his players in the summer. Everton's improved finances are only relative. A "Bale-sized bid" would represent a greater sum than Everton's annual turnover of £80.5m they declared in January.

Martinez argued that the club would be able to dictate the terms of any transfer. "You cannot fight against the trend of the modern game," he said. "You saw it with Bale, you saw it with Cristiano Ronaldo.

"What is important is if anything happens, it is our club that dictates how and when. If we were facing financial disaster, then we would not be in control of those aspects and I would be telling you: 'we are in the lap of the gods'. We are not in that situation at all.

"If we were going to lose a player, it would be to end up with three or four replacements and in a stronger position. Ross is an icon for us, he represents everything we are trying to do."

The fact that Everton chairman Bill Kenwright is no billionaire makes the club vulnerable, but the chaos at Cardiff City has shown the benefits of a club run by a man with roots in his community.

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport