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Ross Barkley is one of the most promising English players to come through in the Premier League in recent times. The 23-year old has been prospering at Everton over the past few years. However, he has started this season slowly and as a result was under some criticism from new manager Ronald Koeman.
However, Barkley has managed to bounce back and has been a key player for the Toffees in recent months as they chase Europa League qualifications. But, he has landed himself in hot water with the manager once again.
The England International’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2018 and it is believed that the club has offered him a new deal, but the player is being hesitant to sign on the dotted line. This development has miffed the manager, after another key player Romelu Lukaku refused to sign a new deal.
Talking to the media, Koeman expressed his displeasure on the situation and also went on to claim that if Barkley doesn’t put pen to paper, he will very likely be sold. He said:
“He needs to sign a new contract or you sell the player. It’s not an ultimatum. It is up to the club to get the deal over the line. Yes or no – it is a decision by the player. I think every situation is different, Ross is a boy from Everton, and what we need to show to him is the best reasons to stay. Of course, his situation is different because Ross’ contract is running out next season. That’s normal in football, football is business that you make decisions at the end of the season.”
This new development will have put many Premier League clubs on alert as one of the most promising English talents could be available in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, one club who could benefit the most from bringing in the Evertonian is Arsenal.
The Gunners find themselves at 5th spot in the Premier League currently and were dumped out of the Champions League in the Round-of-16 stage for the seventh season running. However, the manner in which they crashed out of the tournament will have left the club worried. A 10-2 mauling on aggregate at the hands of Bayern Munich is something that will take a long time to be erased from the memories of the players and the fans alike. Clamours for Arsene Wenger’s exit have continued to intensify and with the Frenchman yet to agree on a new deal, we could very well witness a regime change at the Emirates Stadium.
However, there are more pressing more concerns for the Gunners on the field. With reports over Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez’s exits refusing to die, it makes perfect sense for Arsenal to go for Barkley.
Arsenal’s No.10 Mesut Ozil has been heavily criticised over the past few months for his lackadaisical displays. More often than not, the German international has gone missing for Arsenal in the big games and the fact that he doesn’t help his team out in the defensive half has been held against him throughout his stint in North London.
Ozil is in the last 15 months of his contract as well and with a question mark hanging over his future, Barkley could be the answer for Arsenal.
The 23-year old has appeared 25 times this season in the Premier League and has scored four times so far. Barkley also has seven assists to his name this term and after a slow start to the season, he is slowly growing in stature. The numbers might not be as dazzling as a Kevin De Bruyne or an Adam Lallana, but Barkley has the potential to develop into one of the finest No. 10’s in the game.
The fact that Barkley has created the most number of clear-cut goal-scoring chances (64) among any English midfielders this season ahead of the likes of Lallana and the impressive Dele Alli speaks a lot about the ability of the playmaker.
64 – Ross Barkley has created more goalscoring chances in the Premier League this season than any other English player (64). Recall. pic.twitter.com/jneUGVvXjY
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2017
He may not possess the silky touch of Ozil, but he brings a lot more to the plate with his pace and running. And standing tall at 1.89m, the 23-year old will also bring in an added physical advantage for Arsenal in the attack.
With Barkley, the Gunners will get exemplary work-rate and defensive contribution, something that Ozil has been pointed fingers at for. The versatility that he provides with his ability to play on either flank with equal comfort and also in a withdrawn midfield role, there seem to be just positives about the young player’s calibre.
At such a young age, Barkley has been compared to some of the legends of the game like Paul Gascoigne, Michael Ballack and Wayne Rooney. The midfielder is just 23 years old but has all the ingredients to become one of the best attacking midfielders of the game. Arsenal could very well do with someone of his abilities in their ranks. Especially, if the Ozil situation doesn’t resolve itself anytime soon.