Former Everton captain Alan Stubbs believes the arrival of Davy Klaassen means Ross Barkley’s days are numbered at the club.
The Liverpool-born academy graduate is entering the final 12 months of his contract and having failed to comply with manager Ronald Koeman’s ultimatum to provide a response to their offer of a new deal by the end of the season the Dutchman has begun his quest to find replacements.
Klaassen’s arrival from Ajax for £23.5million on Thursday after signing a five-year contract, plus Everton’s interest in Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, suggests Koeman is making long-term plans which are unlikely to include Barkley.
“I think Ronald put his cards on the table with Ross before the end of the season and he gave him an ultimatum,” Stubbs told talkSPORT.
“The fact that we are three weeks gone and Ross hasn’t signed, then I think that’s the biggest indicator that Ross’ future is going to lie elsewhere.
“The one thing that he (Koeman) said towards the end is that he wanted more creativity in the team and I think, with Klaassen, he’s certainly got that – his record is very good and he’s a great age.”
Klaassen’s capture was Everton’s second of the day having earlier secured Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for an initial £25million fee.
The Toffees are also in the running to sign AC Milan forward M’Baye Niang for an estimated £13m and Stubbs expects the club’s outlay to go beyond £100m this summer – although much of that could be recouped if £80m-rated striker Romelu Lukaku leaves.
“Potentially it’s the most exciting pre-season that I’ve probably seen at Everton for a good five or 10 years,” he said.
He added: “We have an owner (Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri) who is ready to back the club and I think he is trying to get his business done early and the first two signings look really good and I think there will be plenty more.
“I think Everton will potentially be spending over £100m and I didn’t think I’d ever be saying that.
“We are now waiting to see if Romelu stays or goes. The sooner that cloud is removed, whether he is staying or going, it is better for the club so they can move forward. Irrespective of Romelu’s transfer Everton have shown they are going to be as serious as they possibly can to get into the top four – that is the aim for Everton at the moment.”