According to The Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are prepared to bide their time before moving for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley in the latter stages of this summer’s transfer window.
Barkley is widely expected to leave Everton this summer after refusing to sign a new contract at Goodison Park.
The 23-year-old came through the youth system with the Toffees, and has made 179 appearances in all competitions since making his debut during the 2011-12 campaign.
The England international will see his current deal expire at the end of next season, however, and Everton boss Ronald Koeman has already stated that he will sell Barkley this summer rather than risk losing the midfielder on a free transfer at the end of next season.
Talk of Tottenham being interested in the playmaker has quietened in recent weeks, but according to The Mirror, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is still interested in making a move.
The same report claims that Pochettino’s desire to bide his time is down to the fact that the Spaniard is not prepared to meet Everton’s current asking price, which stands at £25m.
Much of Tottenham’s success over the last couple of seasons has been built on a high-pressing style under Pochettino, which relies on two defensive midfielders.
It would be fair to say that Barkley is not disciplined enough to operate as a holding midfielder, but a 4-2-3-1 formation does open up a number 10 position behind the centre-forward – Harry Kane.
The form of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen last season have made those two almost undroppable, but there does seem to be a space available in Pochettino’s front four, which Barkley could be given the chance to nail-down during the 2017-18 campaign.
For all of the criticism aimed at Barkley, the Englishman has managed 18 goals over the last two seasons at Everton, whilst he registered eight assists in 36 Premier League appearances last term.
It remains to be seen whether Pochettino views Barkley as a player that could improve Tottenham’s first XI, but waiting for the midfielder, and potentially knocking £10m+ off his asking price, seems a smart move from last season’s runners-up in the Premier League.