Ross Barkley might still have a future at Everton, according to caretaker manager David Unsworth.
Unsworth, manager of the club’s Under-23s, was placed in interim charge after the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
One of the many reasons Koeman was shown the door at Goodison Park was supposedly because of his treatment of Barkley, and his refusal to fight to keep him.
Barkley’s Everton contract expires next summer, and the midfielder came within a matter of hours of joining either Tottenham or Chelsea in August.
He is considering his options while sidelined through injury, but Unsworth hopes he can persuade him to stay on Merseyside.
“I spoke to Ross this morning,” Unsworth said. “He is working really hard in the gym, and coming along nicely.
“I haven’t spoken to him about that [his future] since I spoke to the chairman yesterday. I will be doing.
“I would love to have a cup of tea with him and discuss the possibility of signing and staying here, because we love him. And I know he loves Everton.
“I want everyone to come together and hopefully we can thrash something out with Ross.
“My opinion of Ross is that I would love him to stay. I would absolutely love it. He is a top talent. Everton has done great for him, and he has done great for Everton. He could one of the all-time greats here.
“I would love him to be persuaded by myself and the chairman and Farhad to stay and sign a contract.
“We shouldn’t be losing players of his quality. He’s a top player who has come through our ranks. We shouldn’t be losing our own players. I feel that very strongly.”