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Koeman insists Everton the best place for Barkley

Manager says player has to decide on contract by end of the season

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League
Barkley seen here with Koeman
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton manager Ronald Koeman said today in his pre-match press conference that he was expecting a decision from forward Ross Barkley on signing a new contract by the end of this season.

The questions started with a reporter asking about the news that broke early on Sunday morning regarding Barkley being attacked in a bar.

“First of all, it’s not good. It’s not what you like to read in the press about your players. I think could have happened to anybody in town. Maybe now he will realize that maybe he was at the wrong time in the wrong place, to meet crazy people like that.

“It’s difficult. Young people, has nothing to do with experience. You play a game, you won the game, you go out. It’s no problem for me with his behavior. He didn’t drink, he was driving his car.

“If he met bad people then something can happen. Maybe that’s the reason I live outside of the town.

“People learn from incidents that happen to them.”

He was then asked about Barkley’s new contract and what the status was.

“I’m not involved in the negotiations. I know the Board is talking to his agent.

“I don’t know, it’s not one week, but we need to know the answer by the end of the season.

“We’ll offer him the contract what is good, what is normal, what the player is. And I think how he’s improving this season, Everton is the best place for him to continue.”

On whether he felt Barkley would sign or not, Koeman went on to talk about the player’s dreams.

“I spoke to Ross several weeks ago and he mentioned his ambition is the Champions League. I told him I have the same ambition, and we are going in a good direction.

“He is of course one of the key players. He is the kid of the club, kid of the town. In my opinion there is no better place for him to continue with his football than at Everton.”

When told that this would draw comparisons to Romelu Lukaku who has also stated that he wants to play in the Champions League, Koeman said that should be any footballer’s target.

“I think it’s normal ambition for players. If you ask the players one by one, everybody will mention they would like to play in the Champions League. For every manager, every player and also for the fans, they would like it.

“Our next step is to play in Europe. It will be difficult, but maybe if we finish fifth or sixth then it will be perfect because we don’t play any prequalification games for the Europa League.”