The old cliche in football is to ‘never go back’, although if recent reports are to be believed then it doesn’t appear that Everton are heeding that warning.
In a summer that has seen Manchester United become the centre of mockery for their Holland-centric transfer approach, the Toffees now appear to have narrowed their targets down to those who play for Chelsea and those who’ve previously been at the club.
Or, in the case of Ross Barkley, someone who fits both criteria.
The latest indication is that the Merseysiders are in ‘advanced talks’ to bring the 28-year-old back to the club this summer, allowing manager Frank Lampard to utilise his Stamford Bridge connections to sign his former England colleague – amid reports that Idrissa Gueye is also nearing a return.
Barkley is seemingly in need of pastures new after what’s been a torrid stint in west London in recent years, having joined the club on a £15m deal back in January 2018 after rising through the youth ranks with the Toffees.
Once likened to the great Paul Gascoigne, it is been a sharp decline for the 33-cap gem in recent years, with both injuries and a wealth of competition restricting him to a bit-part role in Thomas Tuchel’s side, having made just one Premier League start last term.
A return to his former club may appear just what is needed for the Liverpool lad to rejuvenate his career, although the £10.8m-rated man may not be greeted too fondly by the Everton fanbase, having irked some with the manner of his departure just over four years ago, after initially pulling out of a £35m deal to join his current side only to move on for a fraction of that cost just a few months later.
Equally, the £100k-per-week dud has done little of note of late to truly warrant a move in terms of his form, with his total record now standing at a measly 12 goals and 11 assists in 99 games in all competitions for his current side.
In truth, it seems that the Toffees have been down this road before signing a once admired, local hero who is now a fading force, with lessons seemingly having not been learned by Wayne Rooney’s brief homecoming back in 2017.
Cast aside by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, the former England skipper returned to Goodison in the twilight of his career in the hope of going out on a high, making the move 13 years on from his initial departure from the club.
Having left as a raw, fearless teenager in 2004, Rooney returned as a different player altogether, undoubtedly wiser and more measured, yet without that relentless nature that had become his trademark in his pomp.
While the current DC United boss would net an impressive ten goals in 31 league appearances during the 2017/18 season, that was to be his only campaign back in the famous blue jersey, as he swiftly moved on by the club.
Undoubtedly one of the finest British talents the game has seen – ranking as the all-time top scorer both at United (253) and for his country (53) – even such a legendary figure like Rooney couldn’t totally make it work upon his return to Everton.