Roberto Martinez insists he will not push Gareth Barry into signing a permanent deal at Everton, and will only pick up the issue in the summer.
The 32-year-old was surprisingly allowed to join the Toffees on a season-long loan deal in August, despite him playing a key role for Manchester City over the past four years. Barry had racked up on average 33 games per season whilst at the Etihad Stadium, helping them win the title in 2012 and the FA Cup the previous year.
Manuel Pellegrini, however, decided the midfielder was not part of his plans in Manchester, and virtually ended his career at City when he sent him on loan. With his current contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign, it is reasonable to suggest that Barry, formerly of Aston Villa, has kicked his last ball for the club.
Since moving to Merseyside he has played a vital role in the Toffees impressive season, and is sure to continue to do so as they push for a top-four finish. It is believed Martinez could make the move permanent for as little as £1million in the New Year, but he has revealed he will only pick up the matter with the player next summer.
“Gareth has been vitally important in what we have achieved so far this season and I would like that to be the case for many, many years to come, but that is a conversation we are going to have in the summer,” he is quoted as saying in The Guardian. “The agreement was for the season and for Gareth to just enjoy his football and I don’t want to change that.
“I don’t think there is a real need. There is trust about what we agreed and all I want now is for Gareth to continue concentrating on his football for the second half of the season. I don’t want him thinking about his future, which might distract him from enjoying his football and that was the agreement we had. In the summer we will talk.”
Everton fell to a surprise defeat on Boxing Day, when relegation threatened Sunderland scored an unlikely 1-0 win at Goodison. This was just the Toffees second reverse of the Premier League season though, and they remain well placed to mount a bid for UEFA Champions League qualification, just two points off fourth spot.