Ross Barkley has signed a new contract with Everton, the club has announced. The midfielder has penned a four-year deal worth a reported £65,000-per-week, which should keep any sharks at bay for the time being.
Barkley enjoyed his breakthrough season in the Everton first-team during the last campaign, with the 20-year-old able to perform to distinction under new manager Roberto Martinez, who had been hired to replace David Moyes.
Such were his displays in dynamic and technical Everton system implemented by Martinez, Barkley was able to earn himself a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup, where he was used as the first option off the England bench.
There have naturally been links to clubs of a more prominent standing than Everton, with Chelsea and Manchester United among supposed suitors. Liverpool have also been credited with an interest, and had been linked with a seemingly unlikely £38 million bid.
But Barkley, it would appear, has not entertained the prospect of leaving Goodison Park, and is ecstatic to have committed his future to the club he joined aged 11.
"It didn't take any persuading. As soon as I got told about it I wanted to sign,” Barkley said following the announcement of the deal.
"Signing a new contract is a dream. I've played for Everton most of my life. This is a big thing for me."
Great news for England
It represents something of a change in transfer market tradition for a highly-regarded English talent to have committed his future amid speculation, and Barkley’s decision to stay with Everton for the time being should be good news for his country.
Too often have young players been picked off by the Premier League’s elite before they are allowed time to fully develop, and chances become limited once the move has been completed. Barkley only need look at former teammate Jack Rodwell to realise he has made the right choice.
Remaining with Everton where he will play regularly will ensure Barkley becomes the player his potential suggests he can be, and the influence of his current manager will be key to this continued rise.
Martinez is a manager who puts his trust in youth and operates with a style of football to which many other coaches aspire towards - Roy Hodgson among them.
Hodgson has shown his willingness to use Barkley just in the way that he is used at Everton, and the more familiar and comfortable the player becomes with this system, the quicker he will establish himself as a really integral player for England.
Watch: Ross Barkley on his new deal
Hats off to Everton
Not only do Everton deserve credit for convincing Barkley that Goodison Park is the right place for him to develop, but they should be commended for resisting the temptation to entertain his sale this summer.
Everton are a club with Champions League ambitions, of course, but could have been forgiven for considering any significant bids for their players, given that money to spend in the transfer market has always been an issue.
The inflated prices of English players, highlighted by Luke Shaw’s enormous transfer to Manchester United, would have meant Everton could justifiably ask for around £40 million had any club come calling.
Manchester United had, in fact, previously been linked for a £50 million bid for the player in the past. An exorbitant sum, yes, but one that may appear better value if Barkley continues his progression with his current club.