Ronald Koeman says he is “100%” sure Ross Barkley will leave the club this summer after expressing his desire for a new challenge.
Koeman revealed Barkley rejected the offer of a new contract at the end of last season.
The 23-year-old has just one year left on his current deal at Goodison Park and his future has been the subject of intense speculation throughout the summer.
A contract offer has reportedly been on the table for some time, with Koeman keen to sort out his future sooner rather than later.
Now it appears Barkley’s fate was decided in May, though it has taken until now for the news to be confirmed by the Everton manager.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Ružomberok game Koeman said:
“His situation is not too difficult, we made a good offer of a contract, he declined and told me that he is looking for a new challenge. I need to respect that.
It is not Everton future any more, it is his decision but the board say there is no offer on the table for Ross.”
Everton reportedly value Barkley at around £50m, though given he is entering the final year of his contract the Toffees will struggle to get anywhere near that.
It is a disappointing end to what looked to be a hugely promising Everton career for Barkley, who remained a firm favourite with the supporters.
He was regularly the subject of some tough love from his manager though. Koeman grew increasingly frustrated with Barkley’s inconsistency last season and I suspect the Dutchman is not too concerned about his departure.
But given Everton’s summer spending and the general air of optimism around the club it is certainly an odd time to want out, especially for a boyhood blue.
It certainly raises the question whether his advisers have pushed for the move - and whether this is a decision Barkley may live to regret.