Everton manager Roberto Martinez has insisted that interest in midfielder Ross Barkley is a compliment.
This has been reported by the Express, who have suggested that both Chelsea and Manchester City are interested in the player's signature despite the England international only signing a new four year deal at the Toffees in the summer.
Just a rumour
Martinez has, however, insisted that there's nothing to comment on regarding speculation over Barkley's future, and has suggested that there hasn't been any enquires for the first-team star.
The Everton chief, speaking ahead of his side's Merseyside derby clash with Liverpool this weekend, said: "I don't think there is anything to comment," Martinez said. "It's a rumour and we'll leave it there.
"We have spoken in the past about potential interest. We'll take it as a footballing compliment, we just want him to enjoy his football and help the team. Have we had any enquiries for Ross? No."
The Everton boss has also revealed that Barkley is making great progress in his attempt to return to full-fitness, but has admitted that he's still a couple of weeks away from a return.
He continued by saying: "Ross Barkley is recovering quicker but is still in the early stages. He's doing well, he's starting to run and that's something we didn't expect until next week.
"The next step is going to be working with the ball, but he's still a few weeks away."
As well as Chelsea and Manchester City, their Premier League rivals Manchester United have also been credited with interest in the £50 million rated star. It's not surprising that there's such high interest in the midfielder, with many seeing him as one of England's greatest prospects.
At just 20-years-old, Barkley is already a key of the England national side, and is set for stardom. It remains to be seen, however, as to whether the likes of Chelsea and Co. step up their interest in him anytime soon.
Chelsea already have an array of talent in the middle of the park, with the likes of Ramires, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic at their disposal, while City can call upon the likes of Yaya Toure, Fernando and Co.
Manchester United, meanwhile, have invested heavily in the midfield this summer, having purchased the likes of Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. Barkley, though, would represent a long term signing for any of Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City.
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