Roberto Martinez insists Manchester City have not been in touch regarding the possible purchase of Ross Barkley.
The Everton youngster is regarded as one of the best talents in European football, and he already has 10 international caps for England with many more to come. It is perhaps inevitable that he has therefore been linked with a big-money move from Goodison Park, with Chelsea and City already linked with making an approach for his signature during the January window.
Indeed, it has been mooted that the reigning Premier League champions are looking to steal a march on the current leaders by offering as much as £50million for Barkley. However, Toffees boss Martinez insists the Etihad Stadium club have not been in touch in relation to the 21-year-old midfield player, who remains under contract on Merseyside until the summer of 2018.
“We have a great relationship with Manchester City,” he said. “We signed Gareth Barry on loan from them and the relationship has always been good but there has never been an approach about Ross. Never. Honestly, City are not trying to do that. Maybe, if you are a selling club, they could try that but we are not a selling club. I think every game we play there is a link with one of our players.”
Manuel Pellegrini will have the opportunity to take a closer look at Barkley on Saturday when Everton provide the opposition in Manchester. The champions have found their form in recent weeks, most notably Sergio Aguero who has scored 19 goals in as many games in all competitions. But as sensational as the Argentine has been, his team-mate Jesus Navas insists there is more to City than the striker.
“It’s fantastic we’ve got Sergio among our ranks,” the Spaniard told the Manchester Evening News. “A player like him can make the difference but we are really becoming a solid unit now. We are defending as a block, as a unit. I think that’s helping the fact we’ve managed to turn the results around. The initial two or three wins that you get really give you a surge in confidence. That helps for the following games.”
Is it inevitable that Barkley will leave Everton in the near future, or can they keep him for the long-term? Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion below.