It’s a rumor that seems to be gathering pace week by week regarding a young man most often compared to a young Wayne Rooney. Yes, it’s 20-year-old Ross Barkley, a player who has been constantly improving and showing how much potential he really has. The youngster has impressed after being given a chance in the Everton first team by manager Roberto Martinez, and has gone on to thrive in his midfield role.
Barkley has looked extremely comfortable when under pressure and dribbling the ball forward to create chances for his team. He makes driving runs from the midfield into the attacking third and is able to create chances for himself and his teammates. The link to Manchester United is not at all surprising, and neither are the Wayne Rooney comparisons. Even at his age, he has proven enough times this season that he is able to cope with the pressures and demands of playing consistently at the top level in the Premier League.
So far this season, Barkley has scored 3 goals in 16 Premier League appearances and has racked up a 84.8% pass success rate. These stats highlight his massive contributions to the Everton team already this season. The passes he makes aren’t just sideways passes, they are passes which can help start an attack off and passes which can create space for his other teammates to move forward as well. It’s obvious he has played a vital role in helping Everton to 5th place in the Premier League after 20 games, and there is no doubt he will continue to improve and develop as a player for many years to come.
It’s certainly understandable why Ross Barkley is being linked to Manchester United, but is he a player that they really require at the moment? He may not be, and although it is very evident that United need another central midfielder, Ross Barkley isn’t the answer at the moment. He is too much of an attack-minded player, and United have plenty of those. He is a terrific midfielder and footballer in general, but United need someone who isn’t afraid to put the tackles in and someone who is dominant, yet defensive in their role. This is due to their back four being exposed a lot of the time recently.
Nonetheless, Ross Barkley would be a superb acquisition, and if United were to pull the transfer off, then he would certainly improve their current state and their future outlook in terms of youth being blooded into the first team. David Moyes is one for giving young players a chance, like he did at Everton with Wayne Rooney and now like he is doing at Manchester United with Adnan Januzaj.
Anderson looks like he may be sold, Carrick is getting on now, and Giggs is getting to that stage in his career where may now begin to think about retirement. So, it does make sense for United to be in the hunt for Barkley. They do need new additions to their squad that would bring some sort of improvement, and Barkley would certainly bring that. His performances this season and the goals he has scored has shown everyone how good he can potentially be for United.
Barkley is able to pick the ball up from deep positions and take it down the field on his own with ultimate ease. He can pick out a pass, whether it be short, long, or a through ball. The key thing to consider in all of this though, is where will he develop better? Would it be wise to sign a player and try and help him to adapt to the way another club plays? Maybe not, as he may benefit more from staying with Everton, at least until the summer transfer window. He wouldn’t have to adjust and change his own game to benefit and adapt to a new team’s style.
Another thing which was quite bemusing was that the Manchester Evening News quoted that United were willing to pay up £50m to sign Ross Barkley. They most likely wouldn’t do that given his age, but it is some compliment to him. But, these are things you need to be careful with when nurturing and developing youngsters. They need protection from the media as they ‘gobble up’ young players like Barkley with a lot of potential, yet they feel the need to hype up every mistake they make on and off the pitch.
But it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Everton were to value him at around £20-25 million, even at this age. The club, manager, and many others will feel that he is good enough for the ‘top teams’ in the Premier League and is capable of playing a vital role for any of them, if need be. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if we do see him at Manchester United sometime soon.
It does seem as if Manchester United are genuinely interested in the young Englishman, but it will be very hard to tempt Everton to sell him to the current champions. Barkley himself may feel that he has a better chance of regular first-team football at Everton, and it will come down to whether Roberto Martinez and Everton want to do business with United again, given what went on in the summer transfer window. Only time will tell, but don’t be too surprised if you see Ross Barkley in a Manchester United shirt any time soon.
Written by Lauren Jenks