The future of Everton midfielder Ross Barkley remains up in the air after he missed the club's opening pre-season friendly in Tanzania, says manager Ronald Koeman. The England international did not travel to East Africa to face Kenyan side Gor Mahia apparently due to a groin injury which comes amid links with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
The Sun understand Spurs remain interested in acquiring the 23-year-old, who is refusing to sign a new contract at Goodison Park. Koeman has insisted Barkley – whose current deal expires in 2018 - will be sold this summer if an extension is not agreed but Mauricio Pochettino's side are unwilling to pay the £50m demanded by the Merseysiders.
Negotiations over Barkley's future therefore appears to be at deadlock with neither Everton or Tottenham certain of having the player on their books come the end of the summer transfer window on 31 August. And Koeman shares that feeling of doubt and admits there is no clarity over his future.
"At the moment it is not a clear situation," Koeman said after the 2-1 friendly win on Thursday. "He is not fit, that's the reason he didn't travel with the team. We will see when he is fit and back, but everybody knows his situation, and we will see what will happen."
Whether Tottenham reignite their interest in signing Barkley in the coming days remains to be seen. The club have sanctioned the £50m departure of Kyle Walker to Manchester City while Eric Dier continues to be linked with Manchester United – deals which could help finance a potential move.
Though Everton have claimed that Barkley's omission from the friendly is down to injury, his involvement in the pre-season double-header against FC Twente and Genk next week will be another indicator as to his chances of staying beyond the end of the summer. Tottenham will likely be keeping a keen eye on any development.
Meanwhile, three of Everton's 10 summer signings made their first appearance for the club in Tanzania since their summer moves including Davy Klassen, Michael Keane and Wayne Rooney who marked his second coming with a fine goal.
Despite the swathes of new additions, the club continue to be linked with further signings in the wake of Romelu Lukaku's move to Old Trafford. Olivier Giroud, Cuco Martina and Gylfi Sigurdsson – who could be seen as a direct replacement for Barkley – are all being linked with a move to Everton and Koeman has promised more signings in the coming weeks.
"We are close to having the right squad," the coach added. "We did really good business, brought really good players who will make the team stronger and give the team competition. We are expecting maybe one or two players more to come in. It's really important to already have the players in because they need the adaptation, to learn how we like to play.
"And of course we know that we need to be ready in two weeks for the start of the Europa League qualifying. It's good that most of the new signings are playing now for Everton, and it's credit to the board of Everton that they did really good business, which is what the team needs."