He has been touted as one of the top talents in the country and a future great. But the question is, is Ross Barkley really that good?
There is no doubt that Barkley is a fine player. It is clear to all that he possesses the ability worthy of a top player. He has shown that he has the turn of pace and quick feet to take on a player and he also has the final ball to back him up. But for people who don’t watch Everton regularly, Barkley would appear to be just the average attacking midfielder.
Probably the best three attacking midfielders or “number 10s” in the Premier League at the moment are Eden Hazard, David Silva and Alexis Sanchez. These are three players who always appear to come up with a moment of magic when their side needs it the most. In recent weeks, where it appears Chelsea have fallen below their early season standards, Hazard almost single headedly earned Chelsea three points against Hull and West Ham. In the early weeks of the season, Alexis Sanchez’s goals kept Arsenal in the hunt for a top four finish and David Silva consistently dominates the midfield for Manchester City.
This is something that Barkley has failed to do on a regular basis. Everton currently sit 13th in the Premier League, but if they had a player of the calibre of Hazard, Sanchez or Silva in the side they would no doubt be higher. Barkley has only two goals this season in his twenty games Premier League and just the one assist. For someone in his position, these statistics are awful. It is not unusual for attacking midfielders to not get many goals, but they always get the assists. Cesc Fabregas has only two Premier League goals and Mesut Ozil has three goals even though he has missed a large chunk of the season through injury.
Rumours in the paper this week have just about summed up the attitude towards young English players. Barkley has apparently been valued by Everton at £50m. It is true that transfer fees have increased massively over the past few years but this is ridiculous. Eden Hazard cost £32m, Alexis Sanchez £35m, and David Silva only £21m. Barkley is a couple of years younger but he is certainly not worth £50m. A lot is made of the lack of young English players at top clubs in the Premier League, but this is the reason why. There is no reason for these clubs to go and spend £10m more on English players than they would do if they were buying players of similar ability from abroad. We’ve seen Luke Shaw go for £30m and Andy Carroll go for £35m in recent years, at least £10m more than their true value.
On current form, Ross Barkley’s value is nowhere near £50m. There is no doubt that he has potential, but unless he can unlock that potential it is likely that he will drift into mediocrity.