20-year-old Ross Barkley has been linked with a move to Manchester City in recent days.
The defending Premier League champions are reportedly plotting a £50 million swoop for the Everton starlet, who has risen to stardom in two impressive seasons since breaking into the Toffees’ first-team.
Barkley, sidelined until November with a medial knee ligament injury, is regarded by senior City figures as the outstanding, emerging English talent, and capable of challenging for a first-team place in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.
With the club’s roster now the oldest in the top flight, introducing young blood appears to be high on the management’s agenda, as the summer deal to bring Eliaquim Mangala from Porto has already proven.
However, City, unlike many other Premier League side, have failed to maintain a positive image when it comes to promoting home-grown talent. Commonly the club’s policy of buying players in their prime has had adverse consequences on all those British youngsters who have patiently waited for an opportunity to impress.
Jack Rodwell’s time at the Etihad Stadium should be a warning sign to the Goodison Park starlet, as an ill-fated two years with Manchester City saw the former Toffee start just seven Premier League matches. Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair and Adam Johnson suffered similar experiences.
Although he has been touted as the perfect replacement for Yaya Toure, who is 11 years his senior, Barkley would find himself competing against the likes of Samir Nasri and David Silva for an immediate starting-berth. A rotation role is perhaps the best he can expect at the Etihad for now, and in the long-term, this will only stunt his development, therefore limiting his potential.
The 20-year-old has the ability to become the star man at Goodison; a luxury he is unlikely to be afforded at the Etihad, considering the multitude of world class players available to Manuel Pellegrini, both now and in the future (with a wave of the club’s cheque book).
If he wishes to fulfill his incredible potential, establishing himself as a key player for both club and country, he would be wise to stay at Goodison, for the foreseeable future at least.