Everton boss Roberto Martinez has rubbished rumours regarding Ross Barkley's imminent move to Manchester City.
There were reports earlier in the week suggesting the Cityzens were preparing a £35m summer move for the young England international, who has shone through as one of the brightest prospects in English football.
Barkley played a starring role for the Toffees last season, which saw them finish fifth after just missing out on a Champions League place to Arsenal.
That earned him a call-up to the senior Three Lions squad and then a ticket to the World Cup in Brazil. Despite England's poor showing, he is looked at as one of the stars for the future.
This has led various top clubs to show an interest in the midfielder with City touted as the front-runners. However, Everton are reluctant to let their top man leave and Martinez has dismissed all reports, claiming them to be just 'rumours'.
Moreover, Barkley just signed a new four-year contract recently, which will give the Goodison Park outfit the upper hand in any future dealings.
"It's a rumour and we'll leave it there. We've spoken enough in the past about potential interest and I always mention the same - we take it as a footballing compliment and we'll move on," Martinez said, as quoted on talkSPORT
"All we want from Ross now is to be able to get him fully fit and get him ready to enjoy his football and help the team. We are looking forward to that day."
Barkley suffered a serious knee ligament injury just before the start of the season and has been ruled out at least until November.
But there is good news for all concerned at Everton after Martinez revealed that the 20-year-old midfielder is recovering well and is ahead of schedule.
"Medicine and football don't go hand in hand because the football, you want the player to be fit tomorrow, and medicine always wants an extra day," the former Wigan manager said.
"But he's doing really well. He's starting to run, which is something we didn't expect until next week. Now the next bit will be introducing the ball."
"I do expect that he's going to be a few weeks still but he's well ahead of what we expected and it's all positive," Martinez concluded.