Everton manager Sam Allardyce says there has been no new contact from Chelsea over wantaway midfielder Ross Barkley, but claims it would be "sensible" to contemplate any offers in January if the player does not wish to remain at Goodison Park.
Having declined the offer of a lucrative extension to a contract that is due to expire at the end of the season, Barkley, who has yet to make a single appearance in 2017-18 after undergoing surgery on a ruptured hamstring, almost left his boyhood club during the summer transfer window.
However, a proposed £35m ($46.8m) deadline-day switch to Chelsea fell through at the 11th hour amid suggestions that he backed out midway through a medical.
He later claimed that proceedings never reached that stage and that he felt it would be "best to make a decision on my future and assess all my options in January when fully fit", with some outlets reporting that he is keen to join Tottenham Hotspur.
The Mail reported earlier this week that Chelsea were preparing another bid to sign Barkley and had again made contact to determine what it would take to make such a move a reality as they seek to ease the pressure on Cesc Fabregas in Antonio Conte's new 3-5-2 formation.
"I'm not aware of any link with Chelsea at all at the moment," Allardyce, who has yet to sit down and talk with Barkley since being appointed as Ronald Koeman's successor last month, said at a press conference on Friday (15 December). "If and when that contact materialises, that discussion would happen between all the various people in the club from the top down to me to make the right decision for Everton going forward.
"If Ross isn't interested in staying at Everton, and I don't know whether he is or he isn't at the moment, then it would be sensible to consider whatever offers there are in January. But at this moment we're speculating because there is no offer on the table to consider.
"At the moment Ross is recovering from an injury. I'm more interested in Ross Barkley being fit and available for Everton as he is an Everton player at the moment."
Allardyce revealed that a huge amount of "data has been gathered and collected" in preparation for the January market, with the former England boss set to liaise closely with director of football Steve Walsh and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri to make "collective" final decisions on recruitment.
Sandro Ramirez's future will continue to be subject to speculation after confirmation from Everton's staff that he has not settled well since his July arrival from Malaga, while the manager also claimed there were decisions to be made over potential loan deals for several youngsters as he looks to trim a bloated 32-man first-team squad.
Leighton Baines, James McCarthy, Barkley, Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori and Maarten Stekelenburg remain sidelined for Swansea City's visit to Merseyside on Monday evening, though winger Yannick Bolasie could make his first senior appearance for more than a year provided he suffers no setbacks during a second outing for David Unsworth's Under-23s in tonight's Premier League International Cup match against Dinamo Zagreb in Southport.
"We'll see what happens with that and may – depending on the whole team here – have a discussion on whether that makes him available for selection on Monday night against Swansea," Allardyce said.