By Wayne Veysey

16th Dec, 2016 | 5:15pm

Confirmed: Everton to hold talks in January with £35m-rated playmaker

By Alex Stevens

Everton will hold new contract talks with Ross Barkley in January, according to manager Ronald Koeman.

The Goodison Park boss revealed on Friday that the club are keen to begin negotiations next month to extend a deal which expires in the summer of 2018.

This comes amid reports that Tottenham are keeping close tabs on Barkley’s situation with a view to entice him to White Hart Lane.

The Evening Standard reported this week that Spurs have already made a “tentative enquiry” for the playmaker, who is valued at a minimum of £35million by Everton.

Koeman dismissed the possibility that Barkley was heading for the exit door although he admitted that Goodison chiefs will begin negotiations with the player imminently.

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“We know he has 18 months left on his contract, but it is not a priority now,” Koeman said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “The priority now is to play and to win.

“In the New Year, of course we will have talks about his situation and the future. We will see what happens in January.”

Barkley has had a mixed season for Everton and has been on the receiving end of public criticism from Koeman about the calibre of his performances.

He was dropped from the starting XI for two matches, against Manchester and Watford, before being recalled for the 2-1 midweek win over Arsenal.

Barkley played the full 90 minutes against Arsene Wenger’s team and had a fine game as he provided only his second league assist of the season.

The 23-year-old has also scored two league goals, as well as third goal in the League Cup.

In other Everton transfer news, Jose Mourinho has pulled the plug on the possibility of a senior Manchester United player moving to Goodison next month.