Report Claims Everton Ace’s ‘New Challenge’ Desire Down to Strained Koeman Relationship

?Ross Barkley’s desire to seek a new challenge is down to his working relationship becoming strained with manager Ronald Koeman last season.

That is according to respected football journalist Paul Joyce, who has reported in the ?Times that the 23-year-old confronted the Toffees boss over his public criticism of the former’s form during the 2016/17 campaign.

Koeman revealed his frustration over Barkley’s displays on a couple of occasions last term as he sought to drag the best out of his talented attacker, but those comments appear to have led Barkley to grow tired of his manager’s barbs and challenge Koeman on them.

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Barkley’s future at Goodison Park has been a source of constant speculation since last May when rumours first emerged that he would not be penning a new contract with his boyhood club.

Koeman had called on the England international to give him an answer before the end of last season so he could prepare to sell Barkley if he wasn’t committed to the Blues’ cause – an ultimatum that fell on deaf ears.

The 54-year-old then revealed that Barkley had informed him of his desire to leave as the 2017/18 campaign loomed large, with the attacking midfielder expressing a desire to find a new challenge away from Merseyside.

Since then, however, Barkley has undergone minor surgery on a slight groin problem and is now reportedly out for up to three months after he suffered a grade three tear in his hamstring as he stepped up his recovery from that initial injury.

Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all apparently expressed interest in prising Barkley away form Everton, but the quartert are reluctant to pay the £50m asking price for someone whose contract is up next summer.

Barkley’s latest injury setback is now likely to give him the power in any further negotiations, though. If the Toffees star returns from injury around November or December, it will only be one or two months before he can hold talks with other clubs and shake hands on a pre-contract agreement to join them on 1st July 2018 – a decision which would see Everton make no money off his departure.

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