Manchester United should have signed Barkley
David Moyes should have pursued Ross Barkley in summer transfer window
Manchester United manager David Moyes made one significant transfer in the summer window, bringing Marouane Fellaini to Old Trafford from old club Everton.
The Scot took the Belgian to Goodison Park back in 2008, and five-years later repeated the trick at his new team. The price had risen dramatically mind you, with £15million marked up to £27.5m for the Premier League champions.
But, it wasn’t the big-haired Belgian who was making the running for the Toffees at the start of the current season. Instead, young Englishman Ross Barkley has been taking the plaudits.
The 19-year-old has been stealing the show on Merseyside, scoring his first goal against Norwich on the opening day and sparkling against West Brom and Cardiff in a couple of stalemates.
His form has also led to international recognition, with Roy Hodgson giving the teenager his senior England opportunity against Moldova at Wembley last week.
Whilst Fellaini will add certain attributes to the Red Devils line-up immediately, the better long-term option might just have been Barkley.
A graduate of the same academy that's produced Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman and Jack Rodwell, it appears Everton have found another gem.
Barkley first cut his teeth senior teeth on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, then with Leeds United. His Championship experience appears to have stood him in good stead, with the jump to the English top flight not affecting him.
If anything, his performances have been even better at the highest level.
The key question mark over Barkley is consistency. At this stage, it's impossible to tell if he will be able to maintain such a high level of performance. And, it's important for his development that he's playing games.
Manchester United may not have been able to guarantee that, but securing his signature now and then potentially loaning him back to either Roberto Martinez or another Premier League club would have been a fantastic option.
The Red Devils were linked with a move for the player following Moyes' arrival at the start of the summer, with £12m the mooted price. Given the traditional mark-up when it comes to English talent, matched with his fine form this season, then a much higher price can be expected if a party were interested in January.
That makes a move a far less attractive proposition, particularly for the fans, who are sure to be sceptical over the manager bringing another Everton player to Old Trafford.
The truth is though, that Barkley would slot in perfectly at United. An energetic, all-action midfielder, he's not the type of player the champions currently have at their disposal.
It's up for debate whether he's as good as Tom Cleverley now, but I'm in little doubt that he'll surpass the former Wigan loanee in the coming years. Barkley would also add to the English core at United, with Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick and Rooney all offering the club plenty in the coming years - if the later is persuaded to stay long-term.
This is not to say that Fellaini won't be a success at United. He has the potential to be a fine addition, and adds a presence to the side that has been lacking in recent times.
However, there is little doubt that Barkley will become a star for his country, and United fans will hope they are not the club that missed out on his huge promise when Moyes had the perfect chance.