Transfer Focus: Arsenal vs Spurs battle could ensue over Barkley

According to reports from The Telegraph, Arsenal are monitoring Everton midfielder Ross Barkley ahead of the summer transfer window.

What’s the word?

The Telegraph claim a massive overhaul is being prepared at the Emirates Stadium for the summer, with Arsene Wenger ironically set to keep his place at the club. Off-field changes are expected whilst the first-team could look completely different, as the futures of star entities Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, in addition to English duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, remain completely uncertain just three months before the opening of the summer window.

It’s all an effort to make sure Wenger leaves the club on a high, suggesting his much-awaited departure won’t come at the end of the current campaign, and Barkley is being monitored as a potential signing to fill the void of some of the aforementioned names.

“Of course I think the player needs to improve. He needs to improve the tactical aspect of his football, out of his position, he needs to be more clinical and have more creativity in the offensive part of the team but he is working hard on that and trying to get the best out of himself. Maybe that type of aggression meant he lost a bit of control in that action (against Liverpool) but he is working hard. But he needs to improve to be the player that maybe everyone expected when he was 18 or 19.”

Can Barkley step up?

Barkley has dazzled and delighted throughout his Premier League career but not consistently enough for one of the division’s top clubs to make a concerted effort to prise him away from Goodison Park. Ronald Koeman has publicly commented on the improvements Barkley needs to make more than once this season, but we have seen the right kind of response from the attacking midfielder over the last few months, amassing one goal and five assists in his last nine Premier League appearances.

Is he ready to fill the void of a World Cup winning playmaker in Ozil? Perhaps not. But Barkley has steadily improved at a consistent rate this season and he’d nonetheless be an interesting addition to Arsenal’s squad, whether he’s played as the No.10 or in a more balanced role in the engine room.

Who else is interested?

Make no mistake, it won’t be simply a case of Arsenal representatives travelling to Merseyside, getting Barkley to sign a pace of paper and then driving him back down to north London. Yes, the England international’s contract at Goodison is winding down but the Gunners will face stiff competition for his signature from local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who have been tracking him for some time and were linked once again this week by The Daily Mail. Could we see a bidding war develop between the two clubs this summer? That’ll undoubtedly have an effect on Barkley’s price tag.