Liverpool (AFP) – Everton manager Ronald Koeman has warned midfielder Ross Barkley that he will be sold if he refuses to sign a new contract.
The England international’s current deal runs out at the end of next season, with no new agreement yet in place.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with a possible move for Barkley in recent months.
The 23-year-old, a boyhood Everton fan, graduated from the academy at Goodison Park, but his future at the club looks increasingly uncertain.
Barkley produced an outstanding performance as Everton beat Leicester 4-2 in the Premier League on Sunday.
However, afterwards, Koeman suggested that he would not allow the midfielder’s future to remain unresolved beyond the summer.
Asked how he would resolve the contract stand-off, Koeman said: “We offer him a new contract and two possibilities, one is sign that contract, if he doesn’t we need to sell the player. It is simple. It is not so difficult in my opinion.”
Barkley combined superbly with Romelu Lukaku, who scored twice to take his Premier League goals total for the season to 23.
Lukaku’s future at Everton is also uncertain, with the Belgium striker having recently rejected an offer to extend his contract beyond 2019.
Koeman wants to keep both players, but not at any price. The manager said: “Even if they don’t perform on the level, we try to keep the best players.
“We spoke a lot about Ross and Rom because they are really important, most of the time the quality of the players can be the difference between Everton and the opponent.
“Today they played really well. We know Rom is a great finisher but Ross played really well between the lines.
“I think he should have scored one but it is what you want to see they played outstanding but the whole team performance was outstanding.”
Opponents Leicester will be without captain Wes Morgan when they travel to Spain for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
The centre-back, who was not involved at Goodison Park, has missed four successive matches with a back problem.
Manager Craig Shakespeare said: “He won’t be ready for Wednesday. It gives opportunities to other people.
“During the run we have had, people have come in and done well. We knew we’d struggle without Wes. There is no timeframe on his return.”
Defeat at Everton ended Shakespeare’s run of six successive wins, five of them in the Premier League, since replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri in February.
He put out a much-changed side at Goodison Park, resting his first-choice full-backs Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs, and using winger Riyad Mahrez only as a substitute.
Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was absent with a minor groin problem, but is expected to be fit for the match in Madrid this week.
Shakespeare added: “The team selection was with the games coming up in mind, on Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday. We have got a good squad and players have had to be patient.
“The team selection was made to try to get three points. It was more about squad rotation than anything else.
“We played OK in bits. We got off to the worst start possible by conceding a goal after 35 seconds and then showed a lot of character quickly.
“The response was what I was after and we got two quick goals.
“We struggled at times to deal with Everton’s movement and attacking threat, but ultimately we were done by two set plays, which was disappointing.”
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