New Everton boss Sam Allardyce has cast doubt over Ross Barkleyâ€™s future at the club after suggesting that the midfielder may already have agreed a deal elsewhere.
Back in summer, the 23-year-old was on the verge of joining Antonio Conteâ€™s men in a Â£35 million move, only for the England international to pull the plug on the deal at the last minute and remain at Goodison Park.
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With his Everton contract due to expire at the end of the current campaign, Barkley may leave Merseyside as a free agent, with Mauricio Pochettinoâ€™s Tottenham believed to be keen on landing the midfielderâ€™s signature.
Allardyce, who oversaw his first victory as Toffees boss on Saturday courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, has admitted that whilst he would like nothing more than to keep hold of the Englishman, the player himself may already have his next destination lined up.
“I’d like to think we can keep Barkley, unless somebody’s already done a deal for him,â€ the 63-year-old Everton boss told Sky Sports in his post-match interview.
“I am not daft enough to know in this game that those words and phone calls might not have already gone on.
“If we could get Ross Barkley to stay then nobody would be more delighted than me. Â Whether that is a possibility I do not know.
“For me it’s about getting him back in the squad first and seeing where we are from there.”
A torn hamstring has kept Barkley out of Toffees action since pre-season and he is yet to make a single appearance for the Toffees this term.
Things are looking up for Everton, with their victory over the Terriers on Saturday making it two consecutive wins in the Premier League, pushing them up to 10th place in the table, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
With the Merseyside derby coming up next Sunday, the Toffeesâ€™ form has picked up at just the right time and emerging from Anfield with all three points will provide Allardyce with a dream start to his tenure.