By support

10th Apr, 2017 | 10:46am

Report: Everton join race for bargain Ross Barkley replacement, contract expiring in the summer

By Will Butcher

Everton have joined the race to sign Greuther Furth playmaker Robert Zulj as he continues to shine in the 2. Bundesliga, according to a report.

Goal claim that Zulj has been identified as a potential replacement for Ross Barkley, with the report stating that both the England international and Romelu Lukaku could leave Goodison in the summer.

Despite starring against Leicester during the Toffees’ 4-2 win on Sunday, manager Ronald Koeman handed Barkley an ultimatum after the game by stating he should sign a new deal or leave.

It is reported that 25-year-old star Zulj is attracting interest from a whole host of Bundesliga clubs including Mainz, with his contract set to expire in less than three months.

That could see Furth’s number 20 leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, with Everton reportedly keen to bring him to England as they believe he is able to ply his trade at the top.

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Making 23 league and cup appearances this season, the 17-time Austria Under-21 international has had a hand in 11 goals from midfield.

Scoring six times against the likes of 1860 Munich, Nurnberg and Dusseldorf, Zulj has also provided five assists for Furth as they look unlikely to challenge for promotion in sixth place.

Football Insider verdict:

Zulj possesses the talent to star in the top flight of any league and has shown that with his creativity against lesser opponents in Germany’s second tier. Known for his eye for goal from midfield, Zulj is able to unlock a defence and that kind of player is certainly needed by the Merseyside outfit. However, Koeman is looking to take his side into the top six of the Premier League and signing a player who is already 25 years of age that is currently in second-division football is not going to improve his side. Koeman would be well advised to scour the transfer market for a better alternative in the summer window before moving for Zulj, who is not a replacement for Barkley.

In other Everton transfer news, Simon Jordan has slammed Koeman for his dealing of this transfer situation.

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