Everton will not let Barkley go cheaply

LONDON • Ronald Koeman has told Ross Barkley's suitors - including Tottenham - that Everton will not accept a below-market offer for the England international near the end of the transfer window.

Everton have yet to receive any bids for their homegrown midfielder, despite his entering the final year of his contract and refusing to sign a new deal.

However, Spurs are expected to move for the 23-year-old, who has also been linked with Chelsea, with reports claiming their chairman Daniel Levy is prepared to pay £25 million (S$44.17 million).

Everton manager Koeman believes Barkley will leave Goodison Park this summer but insists the club will not be hostage to a deliberately late, undervalued offer for the midfielder.

Everton paid a club record- equalling £30 million to sign Michael Keane from Burnley, when the England defender had 12 months remaining on his contract at Turf Moor, and their manager has indicated that is the going rate for a player in Barkley's position.

"We won't let him go cheap, of course not," said Koeman, who has seen Swansea City hold out for £50 million for Gylfi Sigurdsson all summer.

"We have the experience of what we need to pay for players who came here and had one year of contract. If there is a club thinking we can wait until the last day and we put some money on the table and we get Ross Barkley, sorry, you do not get Ross Barkley."

Barkley has resumed training at Everton following minor groin surgery. But he will not be considered for the Premier League opener against Stoke City today, having had only two sessions.

Koeman added: "I still believe he will make the move. If not, he is a player of Everton and if he shows to me he is one of the best then it is possible he can start, like everyone else."

The Dutchman also believes an end is in sight to Sigurdsson's protracted move from the Liberty Stadium with his Swansea counterpart, Paul Clement, calling on both clubs to compromise over a fee.

Everton have had deals worth up to £40 million and £45 million rejected for the Iceland midfielder this summer but Koeman said: "We are close. Let's hope we get an agreement as soon as possible. I heard some rumours that the talks broke down but we are still in negotiations with Swansea."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2017, with the headline 'Everton will not let Barkley go cheaply'. Print Edition | Subscribe