As David Moyes takes up the hot seat at Manchester United in the summer, he will survey the land and see what Sir Alex has left him. At first glance, everything appears to be in order with a championship winning team constructed and a healthy war chest of funds available for strengthening. However on closer inspection of Moyes new squad, a glaring gap emerges, one that needs to be plugged quickly before the season starts. The normally solid position of central midfield, filled through the years with the likes of Brian McClair, Roy Keane and Paul Ince now lies empty following the retirement of Paul Scholes and the continuing sickness of Scotland captain Darren Fletcher. Besides Michael Carrick, who has not had the best career at the club himself, united lack a central midfield player who can create opportunities, switching defence into attack. Brazilian Anderson is too inconsistent for a regular start, young Nick Powell too raw and Ryan Giggs whilst a master on the wing in his day, lacks the stamina to play 40 plus games a season anymore. Moyes knows he needs to bring someone in and will likely turn to his old club, but not for Marouane Fellaini but young Ross Barkley instead.
Barkley is a product of the Everton youth system and despite having only played 13 times for the club, has impressed Moyes enough that he is ready to make an offer. The 19 year old central midfielder who can also play in a more attacking role is seen by many as a future full international prospect, having already represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 level. With the vision and passing abilities of Paul Scholes and the tenuous no nonsense approach of Roy Keane, Barkley is the ideal fit for Moyes new look United team. With Carrick operating in a more defensive midfield capacity, Barkley will provide the threat going forward that United have sometimes lacked this season. If Barkley is able to establish himself, it may be easier for him to squeeze himself into Roy Hodgson’s thinking ahead of next years World Cup. Pairing Barkley with Wwilshire in the centre of England’s midfield is a likely future option, but if everything aligns quicker than expected then the two could take the field together as England kick off their campaign in Brazil.
Barkley spent much of last season out on loan to Championship sides Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday but returned to Everton with a few months remaining and showcased enough potential that Moyes granted him a starting place against Arsenal and Tottenham. Under contract until 2016, Moyes will have to pay a large fee to get Barkley to join his United revolution but it’s more likely that Everton will allow the youngster to leave the club than some of its already established stars like Fellaini or Baines. However new manager Roberto Martinez, who is due to be unveiled as Moyes replacement following Everton agreeing a fee with Wigan, may want to hold onto this future prospect. It will be up to Barkley himself to decide whether to stay at Goodison or follow former teammate Jack Rodwell out of the exit door to Manchester.