Everton boss Ronald Koeman has performed a U-turn in his stance over wantaway midfielder Ross Barkley despite insisting that a breakthrough in the club’s protracted pursuit of Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson is close.
Koeman last month said that contract rebel Barkley, who has 11 months remaining on his current Goodison Park deal, was certain to leave the Toffees.
But with a lack of offers for the 23-year-old – Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are believed to be interested – Koeman has suggested Barkley could now remain on Merseyside.
“Ross Barkley is back in training,” said Koeman, whose side start the new Premier League season at home to Stoke on Saturday. “That is good news for him and good news for us.
“If there is an offer, maybe the club will not accept. He is a really good player; a young player, an English player.
“With all the valuations we have seen the last few weeks about players, then if you want to buy Ross, it is a big deal. I expected us to have offers on the table for Ross because he made the decision not to sign. At the moment, there is no interest.”
There had been suggestions that talks between Everton and Sigurdsson over a move which could cost the Toffees in excess of £45m were deadlocked. Koeman remains positive that progress is imminent.
“I heard some rumours it has broke down,” added Koeman. “That is not the case, we are still in negotiations. It is always a game between the selling club and buying club, but we are close and let’s hope we get an agreement as soon as possible.”
Sigurdsson has been left out of the Swansea squad to face Southampton on Saturday.