Everton manager Roberto Martinez has claimed even a Gareth Bale sized bid wouldn’t be enough to take Ross Barkley away from Goodison Park this January.
Barkley has shone under the former Wigan manager, with his late freekick winner against Swansea this weekend further raising his profile.
Long linked with Manchester United, the 19 year old is one of English football’s hottest commodities but Martinez is determined to hold onto the starlet even if it means turning down a record fee:
‘Ross is in a moment of his career where, first, he knows that he needs to carry on developing and this is the perfect place to do that,’ Martinez stressed.
‘Second, he is a mad Evertonian and enjoying every single second. And third, we are in the middle of a season where we would never, ever consider disrupting what we have got in our squad now.
‘It is not the right time for the player or the club to consider anything. Even if we got a Gareth Bale-size valuation we would never even consider it in January. If we were facing a financial disaster, I would be telling you, “Look, we are in the lap of the gods”. But we are not in that situation at all
‘We are probably in the strongest financial position we have been for a long, long time. All we are going to make is football decisions. Ross is an icon for us.
‘He represents everything we are trying to do this season, so even if a stupid offer arrived in January it would never, never affect us. It is important for us as a football club to show we are making the right football decisions.’
For all the bluster and bravado of Martinez’s words it’s hard to believe him.
During the summer when trying to rebuff United’s attempts to sign Baines and Fellaini one got the impression that the right fee would have seen both become United players.
I think the same goes for Barkley and it wouldn’t take a ‘Gareth Bale sized valuation’ either.
‘It is not the right time for the player or the club to consider anything.’
With their season going the way it is, they are under no pressure to sell in January and Barkley will likely want to see out what has been an impressive season for the side.
But if they fail to make the Champions League, in a season that has handed them their best shot at doing so, then they may now find it hard to hold on to the midfielder and perhaps it is at that point that Moyes should test Martinez, and Barkley, with a bid.