Everton interim boss David Unsworth hopes mooted Chelsea and Tottenham target Ross Barkley will reconsider his future at Goodison Park and revealed he will try and persuade the playmaker that his future lies with his boyhood club.
Barkley, 23, is widely expected to leave the Toffees in the coming months after falling out with former manager Ronald Koeman and rejecting a new contract earlier this year. The Wavertree-born attacker has less than a year left on his current deal, and has shown no signs of penning fresh terms.
Barkley was close to signing for Chelsea in a £35m deal on deadline day but ultimately reneged on a move to Stamford Bridge. Tottenham have also been credited with an interest in the England international, though it remains to be seen if they will try to sign him for a cut-price in January or for free in the summer. Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has long been a fan of Barkley, and believes he can be moulded into Mousa Dembele's successor in north London.
Unsworth, who has publicly stated his desire to take over at Everton full-time, does not want to see Barkley leave Goodison Park and is determined to change the midfielder's stance over his future. Tottenham and Chelsea may be able to offer the carrot of Champions League football, but Unsworth is hoping Barkley's affinity with the club will lead him to stay on Merseyside.
"I spoke to him this morning, he's working hard in the gym, coming along nicely," Unsworth said in his press conference. "My opinion of Ross? I'd love him to stay. He's a top talent, Everton have done great for him and he's done great for Everton. I would love to him to be persuaded to stay and sign a contract, we shouldn't be losing a player of his quality, I feel very strongly that we shouldn't be losing players of his quality.
"I'll sit down with him and discuss the possibility of signing a new contract and staying, we love him and he loves Everton. I want everybody to come together, hopefully we can thrash something out with Ross."
Unsworth may be pleased by Barkley's recovery from the hamstring injury that has kept him out of action this season, but he will be even more encouraged by James McCarthy and Morgan Schneiderlin's returns to fitness. McCarthy has missed the start of the season with a knee problem while Schneiderlin suffered a knock against Lyon last week, but Unsworth confirmed the pair are ready to face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday (25 October).
"James and Morgan both trained and are both available to play." Unsworth said.