Everton manager Ronald Koeman says the club may have to sell Ross Barkley unless the midfielder commits his future to the club by signing a new contract.
Barkley’s improved form earned the 23-year-old a recall to Gareth Southgate’s England squad on Thursday but he only has one year remaining on his current deal at Goodison Park.
Chelsea have been linked with a double-deal for Barkley and their former striker Romelu Lukaku and Koeman indicated Everton could be forced to cash in on the playmaker, who has scored five goals in all competitions this season.
"I think every situation is different," Koeman told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Hull City. "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 is running out, next season is his last year of his contract."
Koeman denied that Barkley – who has created more goalscoring chances in the Premier League than any other Englishman this season – has been issued with an ultimatum but compared the situation to that of Nathaniel Clyne, who was sold to Liverpool by the Dutchman’s previous club Southampton after entering the last year of his contract.
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
"It was no ultimatum. But football is a business," Koeman said. "I think the player needs to understand this, it’s not an ultimatum but I spoke to Ross about a new contract and it’s up to the board to get that over the line. If not then the player could see a new future for himself, but that is normal, it’s not strange talk.
"At Southampton we had Clyne, he did not have a new contract and we sold him. The player has to understand that if he doesn’t sign a new contract, he needs to make a decision for the club so that they know what happens next year. Ultimatum is strong, I don’t like that word."
| MS: "Everton have been strong at home this season and we respect them, but we will go there to compete."
— Hull City (@HullCity) March 16, 2017
Everton are seeking a sixth straight home win when Hull visit Goodison Park on Saturday but Koeman is expecting a tough game against Marco Silva’s side.
"It’s not about what will come after this Saturday," Koeman said. "We are the big favourites at home, the pressure is on Everton but at home we are producing good performances. We need another this Saturday. If you are afraid to play at home that’s the worse thing you can have as a football player. It’s difficult to always keep that momentum, but we like to do it.
"It’s always dangerous because they fight against relegation. They need points. But it is all about ourselves. If we keep our level, it is difficult to beat Everton, and more so at Goodison Park."