Manchester City's hopes of signing Ross Barkley were boosted after an Everton legend encouraged the club to cash in on their midfield starlet.
Neville Southall, Everton's all time record appearance maker, believes the Toffees should consider parting ways with Barkley in order to strengthen their squad.
However, the former goalkeeper insists Roberto Martinez should only sell if the price is right, suggesting anything less than £45 million would be inadequate.
A number of fine displays last season saw Barkley linked with a move to the Premier League champions, and following his call up to Roy Hodgson's England squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil there was talk of a possible £60m bid.
Despite having their spending capped this summer due to Financial Fair Play sanctions, City are not short of a penny or two, and Southall believes his former club should look to use the cash to improve the squad in the long term.
The Toffees have had a disastrous 2014/2015 campaign and currently sit 13th in the table of this weekend's visit of City.
Writing in his Paddy Power column, Southall risked the wrath of the Everton faithful by saying: "I won’t win many friends for saying this – but Everton may have to consider selling Ross Barkley.
“It all comes down to money. Is the club really going to improve that much if we sell Seamus Coleman or Leighton Baines and get £20 million max? I don’t think so.
"The only real game-changer we have is Ross Barkley. But that doesn’t mean we just sell off the crown jewels and bring in stop-gap players that work in the short term.
“For the type of money we should demand for one of the brightest English talents in the game – we should get two or three quality players who join Everton for the long haul.
Barkley's progress under current boss Martinez has been rapid, and it came as no surprise when he traveled to the World Cup last summer.
And while he's likely to improve further should he stay at Everton, Southall suggested the huge transfer fee they could attract would be more beneficial to the club's long term success.
“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see any of our quality players leaving the club. But sometimes you have to lose one to get three in so that the club continues to progress," he said.
Southall added: "But I wouldn’t be letting Barkley go for anything less than £45-£50m and only then if we’ve identified another top-class midfielder, centre-half and possibly goalkeeper to replace him.
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