Everton are still waiting for striker Romelu Lukaku to sign his new contract but manager Ronald Koeman has already turned his attention to tying down Ross Barkley long term.
The Belgium international has been on the verge of agreeing a new deal, set to make him the highest paid player in the club’s history with a weekly wage in excess off £100,000-a-week, since December.
However, despite agent Mino Raiola insisting last week it was “99.99999999” per cent done, the club have yet to confirm it.
Nevertheless, Everton will now look to secure the future of academy graduate Ross Barkley as he is approaching the final 12 months of his deal.
On the status of Lukaku’s contract, Koeman said: “It is still not signed. I heard it is close.”
Asked whether confirming the striker had signed the contract was a positive for the 23-year-old’s long-term future at the club and would help bring players to the club in the summer, the
Dutchman added: “In football you don’t get guarantees.
“What will happen for next season will be for next season. It is not the right time to talk about next season.”
Barkley’s situation has now become the priority, with his current deal lasting only until the summer of 2018.
The England midfielder has experienced an upturn in form in recent weeks having seemingly struggled in the early months of Koeman’s tenure.
“The situation about these players who will finish their contract after one year – he is one of them,” said the Everton manager.
“We will do everything to keep Ross and (get him) to sign a new contract.
“Talks are planned but I don’t think they have started yet.”