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Neville Southall: I’d consider selling Ross Barkley to get the £50m Everton need to be a regular Champions League side

The Toffees are struggling but Big Nev says the board should think about cashing in on England midfielder Ross Barkley and stand by manager Roberto Martinez.

by Neville Southall | January 7, 2015

I won’t win many friends for saying this – but Everton may have to consider selling Ross Barkley.

It all comes down to money. Is the club really going to improve that much if we sell Seamus Coleman or Leighton Baines and get £20 million max?

I don’t think so. The only real game-changer we have is Ross Barkley.

But that doesn’t mean we just sell off the crown jewels and bring in stop-gap players that work in the short term.

For the type of money we should demand for one of the brightest English talents in the game – we should get two or three quality players who join Everton for the long haul.

Not Joey Barton on a short-term deal.

Ross Barkley

Nothing but the best is good enough

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see any of our quality players leaving the club. But sometimes you have to lose one to get three in so that the club continues to progress.

But I wouldn’t be letting Barkley go for anything less than £45-£50m and only then if we’ve identified another top-class midfielder, centre-half and possibly goalkeeper to replace him.

Mediocre is not what it says on our motto. Nils satis nisi optimum means ‘Nothing but the best is good enough.’

Ideally, I want the club to say we’re keeping them all AND we’re investing more to get us where we want to be. We sold Wayne Rooney (below) and survived.

But let’s make sure we bring in proven, quality players if we sell to get the club back to where it belongs.

FA Premiership 14/12/2002 Wayne Rooney of Everton ©INPHO/Allsport

Leader of the pack

What Everton ideally need is a player who dominates the middle of the park and takes the game by the scruff of the neck. It’s not fair to heap all that on Barkley’s shoulders at the minute. He’s just 21.

We need to get in a player like a (younger) Steven Gerrard (below) or an Eden Hazard to turn our season around and keep progressing.

The club has a tough choice to make. But the one thing I don’t want to see is them doing something for a short-term gain.

They can either decide to either stick with what we’ve got and try to get a couple of loans in to tide us over. Or they can go after the quality, proven players that will offer a better long-term future.

Let’s make a statement of intent. That’s what true Evertonians want.

Steven Gerrard v Real Madrid 2009

Keep calm and carry on

This is not the time to panic about Roberto Martinez’s (below) tenure.

We have to give the fans some ambition back after last season’s success. But clubs with ambition stick with their managers and they spend money.

There’s never a time in the Premier League when at least one manager isn’t under pressure.

Look at Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool), Mauricio Pochettino (Spurs) and even Louis van Gaal in Manchester United’s first few games. Sam Allardyce was under fire last season – but West Ham stuck with him and are progressing.

The Everton board should give Roberto their backing and tell him he’s here to take us to the next level. And that’s what we should aspire to.

Some players may be looking at the situation and getting their heads turned by other offers.

If it was me I’d say: If you don’t want to play and are not 100 per cent committed to Everton Football Club ‘There’s the door’.

We’re in a bit of a rut at the minute but we’ll come out of it. We’ve lost our confidence a bit after over-achieving in Roberto’s first season in charge.


Get the finger out

When you’re in a successful side everyone’s happy and everything looks rosy – but the manager has never come on the pitch and played for me.

It was my form, my attitude and my determination and belief in my own ability that helped turn it around. I want everyone in that Blue shirt to dig in and get Everton out of the hole we’re in.

We’ve haven’t got loads of injuries – we’re just under-performing. It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted. The whole team has to start to play without fear. In every game.

We’re like a ship without a rudder at the moment and playing too conservatively. We need to get the ball forward quicker and use the width of the pitch a bit better. Then the results will start to come again.

Lukaku correct size

Can EFC give City the Blues?

Romelu Lukaku (above) is suffering up front. He’s playing too much with his back-to-goal at the moment although hopefully that FA Cup goal against West Ham will do him the world of good. He cost a shed load of money, needs to improve – but remember he’s still only 21 also.

I actually think Manchester City have more to lose than us on Saturday as they’re in a dog-fight for the league title.

Paddy Power may messed up paying out early on Chelsea to win the league. Even even when I was playing they never handed out medals in November.

City are about to fork out up to £30m to bring in Wilfried Bony – that shows how serious they are about winning another title.

We’ve got to react to our situation now. I want to see some passion and see it hurt people when we lose games.

I’d be delighted with a 0-0 draw on Saturday against Manchester City (11/1) and start to rebuild our season from there.


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