Per Mirror Football, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is ready to accelerate his transfer interest in Everton midfielder Ross Barkley because of the club’s injury problems.
Tottenham were one of the clubs interested in signing Barley during the summer and after turning down a late move to Chelsea, they now appear to be the only true contenders in the race for his signature when the transfer market reopens in January. Likewise, Everton seem almost certain to sell with Barkley’s contract due to expire at the end of the season.
And Mirror Football believe Pochettino is ready to step up his pursuit of the 23-year-old because of the injury problems he faces in midfield; powerful anchorman Victor Wanyama has been a long-term absentee this season, while Mousa Dembele has been struggling with a hip problem. Between them, the duo have made just four Premier League starts.
The cynical view is a simple one; any England international available on the cheap – Transfermarkt currently value Barkley at a reasonable £22.5million – is worth investing in, because you can probably turn them over for a decent profit a few transfer windows down the line provided they enjoy a good run in the first team.
Barkley is certainly capable of that; he bagged five goals and eight assists in the top flight this season. But if there’s one lingering doubt, it’s that he’s not an industrious central midfielder in the same way as Dembele and Wanyama. In fact, Barkley’s best performances for Everton have come operating as the No.10 or in a wider role as part of their forward line.
He’s played in central midfield before but is yet to show the tactical awareness and work-rate to undertake the role consistently, and the transition could be tough for Barkley considering he’ll also be recovering from an injury problem should he move to Tottenham in January.
The player Barkley’s arrival would impact most is youngster Harry Winks. The midfielder has consistently impressed since forcing his way into the first team last season and passed his biggest test yet against Real Madrid in midweek, showing his fantastic composure on the ball even holds up at the Bernabeu against reigning European champions.
He’s been the biggest benefactor of Spurs’ injury problems and certainly hasn’t let the side down. Gareth Southgate has already recognised Winks’ form and what the prodigious playmaker offers in the engine room, issuing him an England debut earlier this month.
Of course, Pochettino would like to have both players at his disposal in the new year, but Barkley’s arrival would inevitably hamper Winks’ game-time – especially if Dembele and Wanyama recover from injury by the time January comes around. That’s bad news for England but it also seemingly defies the philosophy Pochettino has stuck with at Southampton and Tottenham of ensuring chances for exciting academy products.