Ross Barkley has signed a new long-term contract with Everton that runs until 2018, the club have announced during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Barkley enjoyed a breakthrough season last term, culminating in a place in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the World Cup. While Barkley didn’t enjoy the best of campaigns in Brazil – it’s hard to name an Englishman that did – he has been tipped for big things, and his form last season saw him become a key figure in the Toffees’ push for fourth place.
Appearing alongside his manager Roberto Martinez, Barkley said: "Signing a new contract is a dream. I've played for Everton most of my life. This is a big thing for me.
"It didn't take any persuading. As soon as I got told about it I wanted to sign."
Everton: Potential summer transfer targets
Everton: Potential summer transfer targets
1/5 Salomon Kalou
Everton face competition from cross-town rivals Liverpool for the versatile former Chelsea forward. Although the subject of much criticism during his time in west London, Kalou has taken it up another gear in Lille and has scored 30 goals in 66 matches in Ligue 1 playing in a more central role. His ability to play across the front three would make him a valuable asset in Everton's squad.
2/5 Roman Eremenko
The Finnish attacking midfielder moved to Rubin Kazan from Dynamo Kiev for around €13m in 2011. But with just a year left on his contract, and Eremenko threatening to leave for free next summer, the Russian club are keen to cash in. He mostly plays behind the striker, but can play across the midfield, and though his goal scoring record isn't great he is classy on the ball and likes to dictate play.
3/5 Samuel Eto'o
The veteran striker is still without a club after being released from Chelsea. Roberto Martinez might see him as a cut-price option if he can't land one of his primary striking targets. Chelsea's strikeforce was often critcised last season, but the 33-year-old was the best of a bad bunch scoring none goals in 21 Premier League games for the Blues.
4/5 Anthony Koura
The 21-year-old striker scored only three goals in Ligue 2 last season, but according to reports Everton have watched the Nimes man on a number of occasions. Not much is known about the striker, but he has been previously linked with Newcastle.
5/5 Modou Barrow
The Gambian winger is being chased by a number of clubs with Everton competing with Hull, QPR and Swansea for the quick striker - though Celtic are believed to be in pole position. Ostersunds want around £1.5m for Barrow, who was on trial at Bolton Wanderers last week. Barrow is in superb form in the Swedish top division, with seven goals and five assists in 13 matches so far this season.
Playing behind on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku – who Martinez remains confident of landing on a permanent deal – Barkley’s ability to push forward with the ball at his feet and repeatedly beat defenders saw him earmarked as a leading figure in the England midfield in the years to come.
Barkley played in all three of England's Group D matches in Brazil, coming off the bench in the 2-1 defeats to Italy and Uruguay before starting the final match against Costa Rica where England's fate had already been sealed.
The midfielder scored seven times last season with six coming in the league, and he netted two memorable goals that were candidates for goal of the season. The first saw him dribble past half of the Newcastle team before dancing across the box and slotting the ball home during the 3-0 win over the Magpies, and the second was a beautiful, long-range effort that he curled past goalkeeper Joe Hart with his right-foot.
BREAKING: Ross Barkley signs new four-year contract with Everton. #EFC; Everton (@Everton) July 29, 2014
Having made his Everton debut in 2011 having been with the club’s academy since 2005, and despite the 20-year-old attracting interest from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, he has chosen to extend his stay with his childhood club.
Club chairman Bill Kenwright added: “Everton and Ross have always been the perfect fit – Roberto has made it even more special. This was an important agreement and, I have to say, was conducted in a way that showed clearly the devotion to Everton Football Club of everyone involved.”
Martinez believes tying down the England midfielder's long-term future is a significant achievement.
"Ross has signed a new contract to reflect his new role and development," said the Everton boss.
"When you talk about assembling squads and getting ready for the new seasons for us it is as big news as you can get.
"Ross is still a young man and there is a long way to go in his development but as it stands he is a massive part of our squad.
"It is a big moment as every Evertonian will tell you Ross Barkley is the sort of player everyone would love to pay to watch him play.
"He brings back memories of the big legends we've had at the club. But saying that he is a young man and his best years are yet to come."
- More about: