Everton have been busy in the transfer window this week, with the Toffees aiming to significantly bolster their forward line.
Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray both joined the club on the cheap, but the Merseysiders’ work isn’t done yet.
With Richarlison and James Rodriguez both linked with exits, Everton may need to significantly bolster their options in the final third.
One man who could rejoin the club is Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley. He spent last term on loan at Aston Villa but has now headed back to the Blues, where he looks surplus to requirements.
If Barkley returns to Goodison Park this summer, it would have shades of Francis Jeffers at the turn of the millennium.
Jeffers came through the academy at Everton before earning a major £8m move to Arsenal. However, after scoring just eight goals in 39 league outings for the Gunners, he returned to the Toffees on loan for a season.
He flopped at Arsenal and ultimately hasn’t been remembered too fondly by many supporters in Islington.
Therefore, it’s easy to see where the Barkley comparisons lie. Similarly to Jeffers, he was part of the academy in Merseyside before earning a huge move to a major London club.
He joined Chelsea in a £15m deal back in 2018 but has ultimately had a rather indifferent spell since heading to the capital.
Barkley was described as a “special talent” by Tim Cahill when he first burst onto the scene but has never lived up to expectations. The 27-year-old has scored 11 goals and provided just 11 assists in 86 outings for the Stamford Bridge club.
He’s also earned 33 caps for his country but it’s difficult to suggest that it’s worth bringing the attacking midfielder back to Goodison Park. The former Toffee endured a difficult loan with Villa last term, contributing just five goal involvements all season.
If Richarlison and James do leave this summer, Everton will need to find a player with the ability to produce moments of magic on a more regular basis.
Barkley once showed great promise but he simply isn’t that precocious player anymore. Rafa Benitez should look elsewhere this summer.