‘Ooh, Everton’s third best central midfielder from last season has signed a new deal. That’s nice.’
Surely that’s how yesterday’s news of a new contract for Ross Barkley would have been greeted in the old world?
Instead, the ante was well and truly upped by the club’s enigmatic calling of a press conference for a ‘major announcement’ and then the tension built throughout the day. It would have been hilarious if a bemused Mohamed Besic – can’t do the accents – was shoved out in front of, in the words of Michael Buffer, ‘The scores in attendance, and the thousands of sad gets around the world with one ear-piece sneakily plugged into the works computer’, but instead it was Barkley. with not even a walk-on cameo from Romelu Lukaku.
Listen, if Roberto Martinez sees Barkley as the future of the club then sound, it’s good that he’s on a longer deal. Let’s be frank though, all that really means though is that the young chap is on more dough and we can demand a decent fee if one of the clubs allegedly ‘circling’ him eventually decided that he is good enough to get in their first team. Because, again being frank, on last season’s evidence if he was contracted to one of the serious big boy clubs he would probably be out on loan anyway.
Probably to us.
Again, that’s not meant to rain on anyone’s parade but, you know, we wonder why these young fellas get carried away with themselves and at the same time they are feted for accepting £65 grand a week and not immediately fucking off from the club that has been developing them since the womb.
It just all seemed a bit weird.
Martinez is still after more players, with Lukaku still the number one priority. Chelsea are going to wring every last penny out of that deal though – because they can, and also to offset the inevitable criticism from their fans – and it will probably all boil down to who exactly really wants to shell out the real dough that the Belgian will cost. Real Madrid obviously could afford it, but is he genuinely good enough for the European Champions? On the flip side, are the clubs that really want him genuinely willing to go all in with every last scraping of their transfer ‘war chest’?
Everton probably would – but are they able to make the raw numbers work? There must come a point, when Robert Elstone is sat up in a dimly lit room, his tie all crooked and loads of crumpled up bits of paper with calculations on them littering the lino, that they just have to face facts and tap out. While Wolfsburg can’t have a sniff, can they, surely?
In short, we still haven’t got a clue. More as it comes in.