Ross Barkley wants Champions League, says Everton boss Ronald Koeman
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 13/04/17 3:36pm
Ross Barkley has thrown his future at Everton into further doubt after expressing a desire to play Champions League football.
The England midfielder has 14 months remaining on his present deal with Everton and is yet to agree fresh terms to extend his stay at Goodison Park, leading to speculation he could leave in the summer.
Ronald Koeman said Barkley is keen to play for a club competing in the Champions League and the Everton manager also reaffirmed his stance that the 23-year-old will be sold if he does not sign a new contract.
Koeman's side sit in seventh place in the Premier League, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City having played a game more.
"I spoke to Ross several weeks ago and he mentioned his ambition, Champions League, and I told him I have the same ambition," Koeman said.
"We're going in a good direction and he is a key player, he is a kid of the club, a kid of the town and in my opinion, there is no better place for him to continue.
"I think it's a normal ambition for players, every player and manager wants to play in the Champions League.
"Our next step is to play in Europe, it may be difficult, if we finish fifth or sixth that will be perfect because you don't play any pre-qualification games for Europe."
Koeman added: "I am not involved in the negotiations, but I know the board is talking to his agent.
"Of course we need to know the answer before the end of the season. It's all about the contract and we will offer him what is good, what is normal and what the player is.
"I think the way he is improving this season, Everton is the best place for him to continue."
Barkley, an Everton academy graduate, has scored 26 goals in 173 appearances since making his debut for the club in August 2011.
He was rewarded with a new four-year deal in July 2014 by then-manager Roberto Martinez after featuring for England at the World Cup in Brazil.
Barkley then expressed a desire to bring trophies and Champions League football back to Everton, but has been unable to do so thus far.