Sam Allardyce has admitted that Ross Barkley's future at Everton is out of his hands as the contract rebel nears a first team comeback form injury.
Barkley is in the final six months of his current deal at Goodison Park and is no nearer to performing a sensational U-turn and committing his future to the Toffees.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about the ongoing situation, Allardyce revealed that he would dearly love to keep the attacking midfielder on Merseyside - but stressed that, if Everton decided to cash in on him in January, he would not feel aggrieved over that stance.
Big Sam said: "It's a difficult one. I haven't had the opportunity yet, to find out the true – or the whole – scenario and say "Where does your future lie?" and then make a decision one way or the other. I'm not in control of that in too many ways.
"If someone comes in during January and says 'Here you go' and the club says 'Look, if he's not going to sign for us, this has to be the case' then I accept that.
"But if Ross stays until the end of the season and I feel he is giving 100 per cent to the team – like he has done since he was a kid – then he is an available asset until he leaves on a free transfer. I would hate that to happen but it might do."
Barkley is almost ready to resume full training after a four-month spell on the sidelines with a torn hamstring, and has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Tottenham again ahead of the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old rejected the chance to sign a new deal as he revealed he wanted a new challenge away from the Blues, but his feelings may have changed following the sacking of Ronald Koeman - a man who publicly criticised his displays on more than one occasion.
Allardyce stated on his arrival that he would look to sit down with Barkley once he was fully fit to discuss his future, and it remains to be seen whether he can convince the England international to stay past next June.