Everton to put off Ross Barkley extension until next year

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Ross Barkley has just 18 months left on his Everton contract, but that doesn’t worry manager Ronald Koeman.

Still just 23 years old, Barkley has become a regular at Goodison Park, but has hit a rough patch of late, benched by Koeman against Watford in a four-match winless streak. The club lost that match, and Barkley returned for a 2-1 win over Arsenal last time out and played well, and the contract chatter began.

“We know it’s about 18 months of contract,” Koeman said with the club preparing to take on Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday. “It’s not the priority now but in the new year we will have talks.”

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Koeman took a shot at reporters asking questions about Barkley’s future. “The priority now is to play and win. I’m not interested in what you write, what you said about future of players. Nobody is knocking on the door.”

Barkley has taken a step back this season from his stellar form last campaign, with just two goals and two assists nearly halfway into the year. He has been outplayed at times by teammate Idrissa Gueye, who was a standout player against Arsenal. Still, there have been plenty of rumors linking him with a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur.