Everton manager Ronald Koeman has insisted that Ross Barkley has not been given an ultimatum, but suggests that if the midfielder does not sign a new contract in the summer he will be sold.
The England international has 15 months left on his current contract, and the fact that he is yet to sign a new one has sparked speculation over his future.
The uncertainty is particularly strong due to the current situation involving Romelu Lukaku, who according to numerous reports, has rejected a £140,000-a-week contract offer.
In Thursday’s press conference, Koeman addressed the media insisting that the club want Barkley to pen a new deal.
However, the Dutchman did suggest that the midfielder would be sold rather than allowed to run down the final year of his contract.
Koeman told reporters:
“Normally you make decisions at the end of the season, and you need to sign a new contract or you sell the player.
“There is no ultimatum, no, but it’s normal, it’s business, you don’t give every player in his last season a contract, and I think the player by himself needs to understand this.
“It is not an ultimatum – I spoke to Ross about a new contract and now it is up to the board to get that contract over the line, and if not, as a player you see a new future for yourself.”
It is clear that Koeman wants to keep Barkley at the club, but his comments suggest that he is unwilling to wait around for the midfielder.
The Dutchman stressed that the homegrown player has not been given an ultimatum, but hinting that the 23-year-old will be sold if he fails to agree fresh terms at the end of the season sure sounds like one.
Barkley has made over 150 appearances for the Toffees since coming through the youth ranks, so it would be a wrench for the midfielder to leave his boyhood club.
However, there is likely to be options for him in the Premier League if he wants to remain in England.
The Mirror reports that Chelsea are considering a big-money swoop for both Barkley and Lukaku.
Elsewhere in London, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is also believed to be keeping tabs on Barkley’s situation.