Manchester United have been linked with launching a summer move for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, say The Times. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder could form part of a new look attacking line-up under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.
What would Barkley bring to Old Trafford?
Creativity in abundance. Few players in the Premier League boast the ability to create something out of nothing in the way that Barkley has this season, with nine assists alongside his ever improving goal tally of six this campaign.
That kind of spark was much lacking at times when United were forced to settle for draws against lower opposition in 2016/17. Whilst he may not be first choice immediately, he could be the man to ensure that those games without the best eleven do not result in dropped points.
Barkley has been criticised for his inconsistency, too often going missing, particularly in big games. Surrounded by high quality players, that may not happen so often, but equally, his side cannot afford to carry anyone in tough Champions League fixtures.
Furthermore, with Paul Pogba already occupying Barkley’s preferred position, it is hard to see where he could really fit in. That could see Barkley play in a wide role or Pogba drop deeper, but it would not be a ready made signing for the club.
Is a move likely?
Ronald Koeman publicly gave his midfielder an ultimatum of sign a new contract or leave this summer earlier on this year, and there appears to have been little to no progress in the talks between the two parties since.
Matters have only been made worse as The Times also report that Barkley has rejected an offer of a new £100,000 per week contract. With this new interest reported, it may be best for both parties if the Toffees simply look to cash in and find a replacement early on in the transfer window.
The opportunity to play Champions League football and compete for titles could be too much to resist for the Merseyside midfielder. It would also likely help his fight to return to the England squad, having only been involved in one squad, when he failed to get off the bench, this season.