Ross Barkley's Everton career is over, says Ronald Koeman - 'he 100% wants to leave'
Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, says Ross Barkley’s career at Goodison Park is over and the midfielder wants to leave for “a new challenge”. Koeman said the responsibility for the breakdown in the relationship between player and club lay with the 23-year-old following his refusal to sign a new £100,000 a week contract. Ahead of the first leg of Everton’s Europa League qualifier with Slovakian side Ruzomberok, Koeman offered a typically forthright assessment of Barkley’s prospects of playing for him again. Although he does not intend freezing him out of first team training sessions – Barkley is recovering from a groin strain – the passing of an ultimatum to sign a contract in May was evidently the beginning of the end. Now Everton are awaiting offers. Asked if he was making plans without him, Koeman said: “Yes, 100 per cent. I knew this already from the end of last season. “We made a really good offer to him to sign a new contract, he declined that contract and told me that he is looking for a new challenge. Ross Barkley to leave Everton? Seven destinations and seven replacements “OK, he is not in Everton’s future any more. It is his decision. I need to respect that and see what happens. He had his groin surgery last week and it will take three or four weeks to be back. His personal situation is not so difficult. “It is really clear. I am looking to other players, that is my priority and not Ross, with all respect because it is his decision. Everybody knows what the situation is. That is enough. I don’t talk any more about this situation, we will see what happens. He told me at the end of last season [that he wants to leave]. “He has one more year on his contract and we work with respectful people. And after his surgery, if he is back for training, he will be part of the first-team sessions.” Offers were expected for the 23-year-old midfielder over the summer but Koeman says none have materialised. “What I heard from the board at the moment is that there is no offer on the table for Ross,” he said. Barkley has been linked with a move to Tottenham That leaves Barkley in limbo during his recuperation despite Tottenham and Manchester City monitoring his position. Everton put a £50 million price tag on the player but that has so far proved prohibitive. Koeman’s comments are the latest to underline the difficult relationship between the player and his coach. Koeman put his faith in Barkley when making him captain at the start of last season, but when the coach’s standards were not met he was not afraid to voice his disapproval. The contrast with Roberto Martinez’s eulogising of the player was pronounced – although even Koeman’s predecessor was often criticised for being too lavish in his praise. Now Koeman is putting the responsibility firmly on Barkley, a position he has taken since offering the new deal several months ago. Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary fall from grace at Goodison Park for the boyhood Evertonian who was seen as the future of the club when making his debut in 2011. Successive managers at both club and country have identified the raw talent in Barkley, but struggled to evolve other aspects of his game. In his early Everton career, David Moyes was accused of ignoring Barkley’s first-team claims when he sent him on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, the former manager stating at the time he wanted the then teenager to develop his game intelligence. Everton could sign Sigurdsson as a replacement for Barkley Martinez offered Barkley the freedom to play in a more advanced role and he produced some majestic performances, but again the midfielder’s form dipped as the Spanish manager’s reign unravelled. Koeman has also used Barkley in numerous positions but said on several occasions the player needed to create and score more. It has been a similar story for England. Roy Hodgson selected Barkley at the World Cup and European Championships but felt he was too prone to conceding possession to be trusted in midfield. Sam Allardyce was criticised for leaving Barkley out completely and then Gareth Southgate took flak for recalling Barkley into the squad but not playing him. The observations about the player from all his senior coaches have been strikingly similar. For his part, Barkley will feel that working with another manager in a new environment will be the key to elevating his game as he seeks to become the finished product rather than just potential. He was stalling on committing his Everton future because he was unsure of his role in the side and knew the club was planning to spend heavily on creative midfielders and attackers. That is something that materialised with the signing of Davy Klaassen and return of Wayne Rooney. Koeman also still wants Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, another who would threaten Barkley’s position as a first choice. A parting of the ways now seems beneficial to all parties, although much will still depend on the size of bids before the ties are cut completely. Ross Barkley is valued at £4.1m in Telegraph Fantasy Football, but is he good enough to make your team? - pick your team now >>