Everton will look to secure Ross Barkley on a new long-term contract this summer, with Roberto Martínez admitting he wants to build his team around the gifted midfielder.
Barkley will have two years remaining on his current £60,000-a-week deal at the end of the season and as with the four-year contract he signed in 2014, Everton hope to reward the 22-year-old’s progress with improved terms.
Manchester City are one of several Premier League clubs to have shown interest in the England international in the past but Martínez insists Barkley is central to his plans for the club, and that the boyhood Evertonian wants that role at Goodison Park.
The Everton manager said: “We will probably look at it in the summer. As I’ve said before, Ross is not a young man any more. He’s a player you can build a project on. When you want to build a project it is about a player who wants to play for Everton and wants to take that role. It is one thing as a manager wanting to do something, if the player doesn’t feel the same way then you cannot do it.
“But at the moment we have to concentrate on what we can achieve from now until the end of the season. What you are going to do in the final 12 games of the season will allow you to have a real strong ending, and that’s where the focus is. The FA Cup is another real strong focus for us, and the role of Ross Barkley will be vital to what we can achieve.”