Everton did well to avoid re-signing former player Ross Barkley this summer with the 29-year-old available as a free agent.

Barkley, who signed a deal with newly promoted Luton Town yesterday, was linked with a return to Goodison Park after a five-year absence

The academy graduate left his boyhood club in controversial circumstances in January 2018 in a £15m deal with Chelsea, after almost moving to Stamford Bridge the previous summer whilst sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Chelsea Unveil New Signing Ross Barkley
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During his time in the capital, Barkley was criticised by the then-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard for a ‘lack of professionalism’ following off-the-pitch incidents.

Once a prodigious talent, Barkley’s career stalled following his move down south, and the former England international was subsequently loaned to Aston Villa before moving to French side Nice, where he would last less than a year.

Lack of professionalism from Ross Barkley could have been damaging to younger players at Everton

Barkley was electric during his time at Goodison Park but has not reached the levels he once did and to re-sign the 29-year-old would be little more than misguided sentimentality from the Toffees.

Everton have previously re-signed local lads who were sold at a young age such as Francis Jeffers and Wayne Rooney, however the animosity felt towards Barkley still resonates at Goodison Park.

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Indeed, it would have been a hugely unpopular move by the club and at a time when Everton’s Premier League status hung by a thread, such a distraction is the last thing Sean Dyche needs.

There is no doubt that Everton must add goals and creativity from midfield this season, but Barkley is not the player he was when he was sold in 2018, with his development inhibited by years on Chelsea’s bench.

The 2023/24 Premier League campaign will be huge for Everton Football Club, and the Toffees did well to avoid bringing back a player with a complete ‘lack of professionalism’.