Transfer news: Roberto Martinez laughs off reports of £38m Liverpool bid for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley

Martinez believes speculation over big money moves for his players it recognition of their good form this season

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez has rubbished reports that Ross Barkley will join Premier League leaders Liverpool in the summer for a British record fee of £38m.

Barkley has experienced a spectacular rise through the England ranks this season and looks set to be a part of Roy Hodgson’s England side that head to Brazil for the World Cup in June.

But reports last night claimed that the Reds were keeping tabs on the 20-year-old with a view to a move at the end of the season that would break the £35m Liverpool spent on Andy Carroll – currently the most a club has paid for an English player.

However, Martinez has joked that the club have already turned down a bigger off from Manchester United for the England midfielder, making fun of the reports linking Barkey with a Goodison Park exit.

“In terms of the speculation, we already turned down a £50million bid from United so we're not going to take £38million from Liverpool,” Martinez said tongue-in-cheek.


“It's quite enjoyable to speak about speculation, I think it shows how well our players are doing and those are the type of football compliments that we want coming our way.”

Barkley is not the only young Englishman being linked with a move to one of Everton’s top-four rivals, with both Chelsea and Arsenal rumoured to be looking at centre-back John Stones.

“It's a good sign,” said Martinez. “It's not bad for a young man that is just starting his career.”

The Toffees manager was speaking ahead of travelling to Anfield where he is due to speak at the Hillsborough disaster memorial service, which remembers the tragic incident that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans 25 years ago today.

Everton have stood by their Merseyside rivals when it has come to the Hillsborough disaster, and the Spaniard admitted it is a “real honour” to represent the club on such an important day.

“It's a real honour from my point of view to be able to represent Everton Football Club on such a significant day,” said Martinez. “We've always been shoulder to shoulder with our neighbour and will always be there.”

His attentions will soon turn to preparations for their Premier League encounter with Crystal Palace on Wednesday, where Everton will look to stretch their winning streak to eight matches when they welcome the Eagles to Goodison Park.