Koeman Confirms Ross Barkley Set to Leave Everton, Wants 'New Challenge'
Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Ross Barkley will leave Everton before the transfer window shuts in September as he looks for a "new challenge".
The contract rebel has been linked with a switch away from Goodison Park after he failed to give a definitive answer to the Dutchman about extending his deal at the club.
Ahead of the Toffees' Europa League qualifying match against MFK Ruzomberok on Thursday, Koeman admitted - via Phil Kirkbride's Twitter account - that the midfielder was likely to depart after being informed that the 23-year-old was "looking for a new challenge."
Koeman confirms that he fully expects Barkley to leave— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) July 26, 2017
He said: "He had groin surgery last week. His personal situation not so difficult. We made a really good offer but he has told me he is looking for a new challenge. I need to respect that.
"It's really clear, I am looking to other players. That is my priority, not Ross, with all the respect. That is his decision."
Barkley has entered the final year of his current deal with the Blues and Koeman had urged him to put pen to paper before last term ended, or risk being sold.
North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal have been linked with swoops for the England international in the close season, but Koeman confirmed that no concrete offers had been made for his services.
Meanwhile, the ex-Southampton boss also revealed that he plans to be on the lookout for defensive reinforcements after Ramiro Funes Mori was ruled out for the season after surgery on a knee problem.
The centre-back suffered a meniscus tear during the March international break and had expected to be fit in time for the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
However, the Argentina international suffered a set back in his recovery and had to undergo a second operation to correct the problem.
With Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams the only other senior centre halves on Merseyside, Koeman stated his intent to bring in yet another defender to bolster his resources.
He added: "It's really clear, I am looking to other players. That is my priority, not Ross, with all the respect. That is his decision."