Unless there’s a drastic shift in the momentum and mood at Everton in the coming months, it seems Ross Barkley will be leaving the club.
The midfielder, who has just a year left on his current contract, is yet to sign a new deal despite the fact one has supposedly been on the table since around January.
Manager Ronald Koeman has made his stance on the situation clear for much of the year, either sign what the club has proposed or be moved on to pastures new.
There will be no pandering, no pleas, no over concerted effort to convince him to stay at Goodison Park. The ‘new’ Everton, with their increased spending and ruthless mind-set, doesn’t have any time to spare to convince him.
As far as they are concerned, if Barkley wants to leave, he can do so freely. There is no place at Everton for a player who does not want to be there.
At the minute nobody knows what the player is thinking, indeed, the groin injury suffered in pre-season is likely to have changed his thinking considerably.
If he does depart, the rumours of why he has left will be plentiful, with suggestions of him wanting more money, being badly advised by his agent and a falling out with Ronald Koeman likely to be the top three choices.
The latter would not be surprising given how the Dutchman was openly critical in his press conferences last season. The sense has always been that he is ambivalent towards the player.
Ask Evertonians on the street and most will tell you that their own feelings are exactly the same as the manager’s. Having had to deal with his frustrating performances for several seasons, they are keen to wash their hands of him.
And that is what the most disappointing thing about the whole situation surrounding Ross Barkley is, the fact that very few will miss him should he depart.
When he broke onto the scene, the hope surrounding Barkley was huge. Talk of an emerging talent in the youth ranks had been rife for several years and now he was here, it was obvious why there was hype.
There have been plenty of plus points but sadly the negatives have outweighed them. Seven years on from making his debut, Barkley has barely progressed.
He now finds himself out of the Everton first team and out of the England squad. Evertonians, meanwhile, are simply not bothered by what may happen with him.
Barkley had the potential to be one of the all-time Everton greats but instead, should he leave in the coming months, he will depart as one of the Everton never was brigade and that’s sad by anyone’s reckoning, regardless of personal feelings.