Everton manager Roberto Martínez has dismissed speculation that Manchester City are set to bid for his side’s young superstar, Ross Barkley.
Manchester City made a formal enquiry for the England international but were not willing to match Everton’s astonishing £50 million price tag.
The defending Premier League champions remain interested in the playmaker but Toffees manager Martínez insist the two clubs are not in talks over a transfer. The Spaniard is quoted by the Times as saying:
“It’s a rumour and we’ll leave it there.
“We’ve spoken enough in the past about potential interest and I always mention the same – we take it as a footballing compliment and we’ll move on.
“All we want from Ross now is to be able to get him fully fit and get him ready to enjoy his football and help the team. We are looking forward to that day.”
Ross Barkley is currently sidelined with a knee ligament injury picked up before the start of the season. The 20-year old is not expected to be back in action until November.
Roberto Martínez said that his midfielder is ahead of schedule in his recovery but could not give a date for his return:
“Medicine and football don’t go hand in hand because the football, you want the player to be fit tomorrow, and medicine always wants an extra day.
“But he’s doing really well. He’s starting to run, which is something we didn’t expect until next week. Now the next bit will be introducing the ball.
“I do expect that he’s going to be a few weeks still but he’s well ahead of what we expected and it’s all positive.”
Everton face Liverpool at Anfield in the Merseyside derby today. The Toffees are winless in this fixture this millennium, losing seven and drawing seven of their last 14 Premier League ties with their neighbours away from home.
Manchester City’s interest in Ross Barkley could be to increase the number of English players in their squad. They currently only have Joe Hart, James Milner and Richard Wright as Frank Lampard is a short-term loan. Micah Richards is another Englishman on the books at City but he is currently on loan in Serie A with Fiorentina.