When Ross Barkley began to break through at Goodison Park over a decade ago, he was hailed as one of the very best talents to come through the Everton set-up.
It was easy to see why. Blessed with creativity, goals and quick feet, Barkley was everything that makes you excited about a young player.
It’s fair to say Barkley has never lived up to that tag. He provided the Toffees with 12 goals in all competitions during the 2015/16 campaign before eventually earning a move to Chelsea.
The 27-year-old is now at the peak of his powers but a number of injuries and a lack of game time at Stamford Bridge have halted his development.
An £11m loan spell followed at Aston Villa but after scoring just once during his time in the Midlands, it appears his career is falling away again.
If they can bump the price tag down considerably he’d be a worthwhile addition. After all, he’s still fabulous when in possession of the ball.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast this week, Marcus Bent failed to rule out a move:
“Ross Barkley, for me, when he came through, and still is, an absolute talent, the problem being is that he hasn’t stabilised a spot at any team,” he began.
Bent continued: “If he were to go back to Everton, and I’ve spoken to Everton and they’re lacking that in midfield. He’s got skill on the ball, he’s like a Stevie G.
“He went to Chelsea at a young age and hasn’t done it, so going back to Everton, this is a chance to go home and get at a club that he knows well. The fans love him.”
From a creative point of view, Everton only really have Gylfi Sigurdsson and James Rodriguez capable of filling that spot of the traditional number 10. That said, both players have been favoured in wide positions at various times this season.
As such, Barkley would fill a void that’s currently missing in Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
They have tough tacklers in Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan but Barkley is brave in a different manner.
Speaking about Barkley during his time in Merseyside, Roberto Martinez said: “When we develop young players [in England], I don’t think we credit that sort of bravery. Sometimes you get confused that it is all about going strong in tackles and trying to win 50-50 balls. That bravery is part of the intensity of the whole game.”
Martinez added: “But the bravery that Ross has is that he will show for the ball from any angle, he’ll want it, he’ll try to be positive and make things happen for the team. When he gets in the box, when he controls the situation, that is the sign of an incredible footballer.”
In amassing two shots and 1.3 key passes per game during the course of his career, there is clearly a talented attacking player in there.
His best days were at Everton, so by moving back to Goodison we could see the best of Barkley once again. The Toffees should definitely consider a switch.