There are two hovering clouds over Everton’s otherwise great summer. One of them is composed of volcanic ash from Iceland by way of a provincial Welsh side, the other is born and bred in Mersey, where Ross Barkley has decided that being a hometown hero just isn’t cutting it anymore for his ego.
So, as most fans who have followed the English Premier League know, teams in the league need to have eight homegrown players on the roster. In case you haven’t noticed, the English national team isn’t setting the world on fire - though the future looks pretty good, thanks to Everton.
In short, quality English players are scarce, so when someone has one, he goes for an extra high price on the transfer market. John Stones and Raheem Sterling are great examples of this. No one outside of England was going to pay those fees, but they fit the homegrown rule very well considering their quality, and their price went up.
In theory, the same thing should happen in the case of Ross Barkley. His price should be relatively exorbitant because he’s a young English player with a respectable amount of quality. Everton, realising this, have asked for £50m, and no one seems to be biting. So what exactly is Ross Barkley worth?
Transfermarkt.com has Barkley at €25m, or about £22m. Some of their ratings are better than others, for instance, Kylian Mbappe is at €35m and that’s just ridiculous, while in January they had Leonard Bonucci at €40m and he sold for €42m just a few weeks ago.
A good assumption with this site is that their metric doesn’t account for the very top of the table very well because the fees for the likes of Mbappe or Neymar are just not reasonable for discussion for any but a handful of clubs on earth.
I think their evaluation of Ross is fairly accurate. This puts him in similar stature to Adam Lallana and Javier Pastore and just a bit more valuable (by their metric) than Davy Klaassen. Given the fact that he’s English and has shown he can perform well in the Premier League, Everton asking 30 is reasonable.
Unfortunately, being reasonable doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Tottenham won’t pay that, but then again they don’t even pay their own players what they are worth.
Manchester United would probably need to sell an attacking midfielder if they were going to fit into the squad, though Jose Mourinho has sold Juan Mata before and I suspect he’d be willing to do it again.
Chelsea can’t find time for Cesc Fabregas such as his talent deserves, and Cesc is significantly better than Ross Barkley (if you disagree with that statement I’d just love to hear your logic in a tweet or comment.) Ross would be a horrifically cacophonous change of pace from the style of wide player Conte uses... it just seems like an odd fit, plus they need to move Nemanja Matic because they are a little heavy as it is.
The market for Ross is really slim, because no one is quite as sold on Ross Barkley as Ross Barkley is. Everton should probably start by asking for €30m, but they should be willing to accept €18m.
If you ask me, it’s a really sad way for Ross’ time at Goodison to end.