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More tiresome Barkley rumours emerge

The media are doing their best to flog Everton's prized asset.

Clive Brunskill

After giving a series of interviews to the world's press while on England duty on Wednesday, Ross Barkley gave us all an fascinating insight into his early football inspirations, ambitions for the future and how he copes with the pressure of being a rising star of the national team.

It is such a shame then that waking up on Thursday I see quotes from Barkley have been crudely used to force out yet another transfer rumour article linking him with Man City.

The article claims that City were interested in Barkley last summer (yes, the same summer that saw Barkley sign a long-term contract with Everton) but baulked at Everton's asking price of £60million, rating the 20-year-old at around half that price.

The article then goes to claim that City believe Everton will be more willing to sell Barkley next summer and will be prepared to shell out the full £60million valuation.

It is hard not to view such articles with skepticism. After all, transfer rumours are the staple of tabloid sports pages and in a quiet international week what better than to squeeze out yet another one in order to fill some pages and entice readers?

The Leighton Baines to Man Utd saga has also only increased Evertonians' distrust of certain sections of the media, accusing them of fabricating stories or acting as a mouthpiece to the top clubs in order to unsettle their transfer targets.

Twitter understandably went into minor meltdown once the rumour emerged, some scorning the media for trying to sell our players (again) in such a public way that may destabilise the club.

Others, though, were fearful that Everton may actually cave in should a bid be lodged next summer. £60million, after all, is a hell of a lot of money that could wipe out the club's debt at a stroke and provide a handy little down payment for a new stadium.

There is also the fear that Barkley - or his agent - may smell Sheikh Mansour's petro-dollars and push for a move. Once that happens, like with Joleon Lescott in 2009, there is very little the club can do.

The hope is that Barkley, who spoke yesterday of how he will "never forget his roots", will not push for a move away and instead want to do what Wayne Rooney could have done and become a true Goodison legend.

The club meanwhile, emboldened by a positive set of financial results, no longer have to bow down to wealthier rivals and will be able to reject big money bids without incurring the wrath of the banks.

With Financial Fair Play also limiting City's ability to bully opponents into selling them whoever they want, a deal to sign Barkley is a lot more complicated than some in the media would suggest.