Everton's new record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is an "upgrade" on mooted Tottenham target Ross Barkley, who should "knuckle down" and fight for a place in the starting line-up under Ronald Koeman, according to former Toffees midfielder Don Hutchison.
Sigurdsson's move to Merseyside was eventually finalised on Wednesday (16 August) after weeks of drawn out negotiations between Swansea City and Everton, who have spent almost £150m this summer as they bid to break into the top six.
The Icelandic international's long-awaited arrival at Everton may spell the end for Barkley, who has been on Tottenham's radar for a number of months. Mauricio Pochettino's men have not spent a penny so far this summer and are yet to follow up their interest in Barkley with any formal offer, with reports suggesting that they are unwilling to meet the England international's wage demands or price tag, believed to be around £35m.
With Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney and Sigurdsson all now vying for Barkley's preferred position at Goodison Park, Hutchison, who played for both Everton and Liverpool during his career, thinks the 23-year-old has reached a "crossroads".
The former midfielder also believes Barkley's agent has mishandled his client's proposed move to Tottenham terribly, with the best option for the former Leeds United loanee now seemingly being to focus on reclaiming his place in the Everton starting line-up.
"Gylfi Sigurdsson is a terrific buy and he's an upgrade on Ross Barkley," Hutchison told talkSPORT. "I think the boy has hit a crossroads in his career; it doesn't have to be a move for him.
"In trying to move away from Everton I think Ross Barkley and his agent have played the worst poker hand in the world.
"I don't see him going into Manchester City's first XI or Tottenham's first XI, so I don't know why he just doesn't knuckle down and focus on playing well and getting back into Everton's first team, because he's got the talent."
Everton manager Ronald Koeman is prepared to keep Barkley beyond this summer, though the Toffees would prefer to sell their academy product rather than let him leave on a free transfer next year.
The vaunted midfielder's future still hangs in the balance but Tottenham and any other suitors may see fit to end their interest for the time after learning of the severe injury sustained by Barkley earlier this week.
The Everton star suffered a hamstring injury during a training session on Monday and will need surgery in order to remedy the problem. Koeman suggested that further tests were needed on Wednesday, but the Daily Mail report that the injury is likely to keep Barkley out of action for three months.