Everton boss Sam Allardyce was non-commital when it comes to dealing Ross Barkley this winter.
The 24-year-old midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season and he was nearly on the move over the summer, with Chelsea having agreed a deal for his services before Barkley declined.
Having also snubbed offers of a new deal at Goodison Park, the club had hoped he would reconsider that decision after the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
The lack of a new deal has left the club in a tough spot of losing one of their most promising young talents on a free next summer, or selling him in the winter.
Tottenham are another of those to have been linked with a move for Barkley, and his current manager doesn’t seem to know exactly how the window will play out for his young star.
“It’s a difficult one,” Allardyce as said. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to find out the true, or the whole, scenario and say, ‘Where does it 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 say, ‘Look, if he’s not going to sign for us, this has to be the case’ then I accept that.”
Barkley has been out of action since the summer but seems to be nearing a return to full steam, and the Everton boss claims he wouldn’t hesitate to put the midfielder back in the side for the rest of the season if he shows he’s ready to put in the work.
“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 for us until he leaves on a free transfer,” he said. “I would hate that to happen but it might do.”
The Toffees have used a run of three wins in four Premier League matches to climb up to 10th in the table after a brutal start to the season.
The side will take on Swansea in their next league match before a clash with Chelsea on December 23.