Ross Barkley, the Everton midfielder, has been told he must sign a new £100,000-a-week contract by the end of the season if he is to stay at Goodison Park.
But manager Ronald Koeman insists the alleged attack on the 23 year-old in a Liverpool city centre bar in the early hours of Monday which left him with a black eye will not persuade him to move.
Barkley’s deal expires in 15 months and he has been offered a six-figure salary per week to stay, double his current earnings.
“We need to know before the end of the season,” said Koeman, who said he does feel everything is being done to keep Barkley. “But if he doesn’t sign a contract we don’t want him to go into the last year. For players if they still don’t know that decision by the end of the season, something is wrong.
“Every player has his price. In Holland, they [clubs] tell the players they will put them in the stands for a whole season if they don’t sign a contract and then the player waits for the Bosman ruling and go for free. That’s the worst scenario and that’s not acceptable to Everton.”
Koeman insists the incident, in which he was allegedly punched in the face, would not turn Barkley’s head and tempt him out of the Merseyside ‘goldfish bowl’.
“No, I don’t think so. He’s a local boy – a kid of this club, of this town. On one side it’s nice to be part of that passion of the fans by playing for clubs in Liverpool but the other side is to look out for these kind of things,” said Koeman.
“I go out but in other places – if they don’t see me, it’s better! That’s what the boy needs to learn.”