Rightly considered one of the rising stars in English football and oozing potential that hints at future greatness, it is no surprise to see Ross Barkley being linked with a move away from Everton, the club that has helped nurture him since the age of 11.
Manchester City interest
Now, at 20, he is already valued at £50 million by his club, with ultra-rich Manchester City supposedly flirting with the idea of securing the young midfielder's services in the near future, having reached their limit of spending in the previous transfer window.
Here, however, is a sad and familiar story - young, up-and-coming Englishmen making an expensive transfer to a 'big club' where they fall behind the even more expensive foreign imports in the pecking order and ultimately vanish, content to sit on the sidelines earning their lucrative salary season after season.
We have seen it with Jack Rodwell, we have seen it with Scott Sinclair and we saw the developing talents of Micah Richards go to waste before disappearing into limbo several seasons ago.
- Manchester City are prepared to spend £50m on Ross Barkley
- Chelsea ready to sell Ramires in order to sign Ross Barkley
- Buying Ross Barkley for £50m would be a ludicrous move
Barkley should stay
Manchester City are not the only culprits of course - you could go back further to David Bentley's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, or Francis Jeffers at Arsenal - but it is they who are yet again linked with a very expensive and very talented young Englishman. If Barkley wants to reach his undisputedly limitless potential, he needs to avoid temptation and remain with Everton - at least for the next few seasons.
Having just signed a new contract with Everton that will see him remain at Goodison until 2018 - along with the unwavering determination of Roberto Martinez to hold onto his star player - it is unlikely Barkley would want to leave his boyhood club anytime soon, particularly considering the strides forward made by the club in the last season. However, with Man City reportedly interested in a £30 million move for the skilful and talented midfielder, Everton may struggle to hold onto him.
With the likes of David Silva and Samir Nasri more-than qualified to occupy the number ten role in Manuel Pellegrini's side, a transfer for Barkley would see him relegated to the sidelines far too regularly.
At the age of 20 - still developing, yet a guaranteed first-team player at Everton - he needs to be playing week in, week out in order to reach his full potential for club and country. A move to City, however tempting, must be rejected, whether it comes in January, next season, or even the season after that.
This is a truly special talent and he cannot afford to make the same mistakes as those who have come before him. Rodwell is the prime example of this, utterly wasting years of his promising career at City before finally making a summer move to Sunderland where he has already impressed.
Of course, the rumours of a transfer to Man City are just that - rumours - and with Financial Fair Play rules to consider, it could be that they cannot afford to pay Everton's high asking price for Barkley.
The heart of the matter is that Everton remain the perfect club for Barkley to continue his development with. A transfer to any club must be rejected by both club and player, for the near future, if we expect to see this superb player reach the status of world class, as anybody who watches him knows he can.
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