Ronald Koeman has claimed Everton have no plans to hold talks with Ross Barkley before 2017, as the club are fully focused on winning the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Monday night (19 December). The Dutch boss also played down recent reports linking the England international with a potential move to Tottenham Hotspur.
Barkley's future at Goodison Park has been under scrutiny in recent times, as his contract will expire in the summer of 2018. The 23-year-old star enjoyed an impressive breakthrough into the Everton firs -team under Roberto Martinez, but Koeman has demanded he step his level up now he is no longer a young starlet.
However, the England midfielder is still highly regarded and Evening Standard recently reported Mauricio Pochettino is keeping a close eye on the situation ahead of luring him to Spurs in a deal that could be worth up to £35m ($43.6m).
Koeman, however, has claimed that Everton's plan is to tie Barkley to a new deal, as they have recently done with Gareth Barry, Leighton Baines and Mason Holgate.
"We know he has 18 months left on his contract, but it is not a priority now. The priority now is to play and to win. In the New Year, of course we will have talks about his situation and the future. We will see what happens in January," Koeman said in the press conference ahead of the clash with Liverpool.
Asked about the reported Spurs interest in the player, he responded: "I am not interested in what you write or say about the futures of players. There is nobody knocking on the door for Everton players."
Barkley is expected to start in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Monday after he enjoyed an impressive display during the midweek win over Arsenal, setting up Ashley Williams' late winner.
However, Yannick Bolasie will miss the game after the former Crystal Palace winger suffered a serious knee injury during the draw with Manchester United. Koeman has revealed the DR Congo international underwent surgery on his torn meniscus this week, but will require another operation on to correct his cruciate ligament injury.
"Yannick had his first surgery yesterday. The first operation was about his meniscus, now the boy has to wait eight to 10 weeks to have the big surgery on his ACL," the boss said. "It is a really tough injury and he will be out for a long time. It's really hard for Yannick but the boy is positive, we will support him and he will come back stronger."
Koeman has no fresh injury concerns from the side that beat Arsenal on Tuesday, but long-term absentee Muhamed Besic remains on the sidelines.