According to a piece of inside info sniffed out by the newshounds at Bleacher Report HQ, one of the factors behind Everton’s debating whether or not to remove boss Roberto Martinez from the manager’s office is that, should the Spaniard stay, academy pin up Ross Barkley may seek to a move away.
The 22-year-old has forever been linked with the Premier League’s biggest outfits, but after kicking up a monumental furore surrounding loyalty and ambition when extending his Toffees contract two years ago, it was assumed the England international would stick around at Goodison Park for the best years of his career.
“This contract means everything for me. It is my dream to play for Everton. This is the club I love and I see it as home. We’ve got to push on now and one of the objectives is the Champions League,” he said in the summer of 2014.
Given the resources Everton lack, this aspiration started out as hugely ambitious, but expecting to achieve it in two years is borderline insane.
In Barkley’s defence, this campaign has been a disastrous one and the last one wasn’t much better, but were it not for a late-season implosion, Martinez would’ve achieved the lofty aspiration a few weeks before the midfielder inked his new contract.
True, not many managers would be allowed the same stay of execution as the Spaniard following two seasons of underperformance, but surely the England international is in some way culpable for Everton’s shortcomings?
His contribution of eight league goals is a respectable return, but a shots-to-goal conversion rate of 9% is some way down the rankings of his midfield peers.
Perhaps part of the reason the Toffees are so leaky in defence is down to Barkley being afforded complete carte blanche as a number ten, yet this wastefulness suggests perhaps he doesn’t warrant it.
Whichever way it’s looked at, these numbers are not synonymous with an indispensable asset, so if Barkley is genuinely considering an Everton exit based on whether or not they sack Martinez, it’s obvious which is more expendable.
Axing the Spaniard will cost money, whereas selling the unsettled midfielder will net a bona fide windfall.
The proceeds raised could be put to building a sturdier squad, while the distraction of forging a team around a talented, if not profligate number ten would also be removed.