Ross Barkley will “100 per cent” leave Everton despite a lack of offers for the England international, Ronald Koeman has said.
Midfielder Barkley rose through the youth ranks to become an established member of the first team at Goodison Park, but doubts emerged over his future at the end of last season when it became apparent he was stalling on signing a new contract.
Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea have all been linked with a move for the 23-year-old, while Everton are said to have had two bids rebuffed for Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson who has been outlined as a replacement.
Koeman, addressing the media on Wednesday, confirmed he does not foresee a future for Barkley on the blue half of Merseyside and expects him to seek pastures new when the right offer comes in.
Asked if Barkley will “100 per cent” leave, he replied: “Yes. Yeah.
“His personal situation is not so difficult. We made a really good offer to sign a new contract, he declined that contract and he told me at the end of last season that he’s looking for a new challenge.
“It’s his decision. I need to respect that and we’ll see what happens, because I heard from the board that there’s not really an offer on the table for Ross.”
On his plans for Barkley, who is recovering from surgery on his groin, Koeman added: “My priority is not Ross, with respect, it is his decision.
“I look more to other players. He has one more year of contract, we work with respect. If he is back for training he will be part of first-team training.”
Everton have been among the busier sides in the transfer window, with Wayne Rooney re-joining from Manchester United, while the likes of Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Sandro Ramirez have also made the move to Goodison Park.
And Koeman made little secret of his interest in adding Sigurdsson to his list of recruits.
“Of course we have interest in the player,” he said. “I don’t know [if we will go back in for him].”
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