By Dominic Toner

Tony Cottee claims that Everton must ensure they secure the long-term future of Ross Barkley.

The Daily Star claim that the 23-year-old is expected to stall over the decision to sign a new deal at Goodison Park, with a number of top Premier League clubs monitoring his situation.

Barkley’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season and is believed to be assessing his options.

Toffees manager Ronald Koeman has been quite critical of his performances this season and Barkley has not been pleased with his public shaming.

Former Everton player Cottee feels it is crucial the Merseyside club tie the attacker midfielder down to a new long-term deal as he can help them reach the European spots.

“I don’t want to see him leave. I want him to stay at the club and help get them back into Europe,” Cottee told talkSPORT. “And then hopefully they can push on and compete with the big boys, but you can’t do that if you sell your best players. He needs to stay at the club.”

Barkley has enjoyed a more successful run in the side lately and has been given the licence to support the attack.

The England international has made 26 appearances this season across all competitions, scoring five goals and supplying five assists.

He has continued a great partnership with central striker Romelu Lukaku and the pair are regarded as two of the club’s most important players.

In other Everton transfer news, the club are eyeing a Championship attacker ahead of a potential summer move.

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