Breaking Bets: Everton’s Barkley business is this summer’s best

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Luke Shaw has been deemed worthy of at least £100,000 per week at Manchester United, following a seemingly unremarkable season with eighth-place Southampton

In such circumstances, why is Everton’s Ross Barkley’s new contract – after a cracking campaign for the Champions League miss-outs – substantially lower?

Barkley has signed on for another four years at Goodison Park and will be remunerated to the tune of £65k per week, which represents shrewd business and a significant coup for the Merseyside Blues.

Ladbrokes.com’s ‘Breaking Bets’ team have cranked out a 7/1 price on the 20-year-old England livewire scooping PFA Young Player of the Year next term, and with last season’s runaway winner Eden Hazard now ineligible for the award, that rates a fine punt.

The attacking-midfielder struck six times in his first full top-flight campaign, and while Barkley’s blank assist stats may seem less than impressive, the Toffeeman was only out-dribbled by six other Premier League players going by WhoScored.com’s match averages.

Barkley’s brave predilection for mazy runs brought about one of the goals of 2013/14 against Newcastle in March, when the Wavertree native made mugs of the Magpies defence after picking up the ball in his own half and not stopping until the goal was at his mercy.

Both Everton and Barkley emerge with credit, as the famously skint Toffees have clearly pushed the boat out in the hope of keeping the local hero, while the player’s commitment to his hometown club is plain to see, as he could easily have agitated for a big-money move away.

Red Devils’ summer signing Shaw, who has been told to improve his fitness by new boss Louis van Gaal, will be expected to develop into a marauding wing-back under the 3-4-1-2/3-5-2 loving Dutchman, but his dribbling stats from last term suggests there’s room for the teenager to improve.

The Londoner beat 1.6 players per match on average, compared to 2.4 completed dribbles per fixture by Barkley, who also made the top ten for fouls drawn.

Considering the pair’s key-pass numbers were similar to the point of negligible in 2013/14 – with Shaw laying on just one assist all season and failing to notch in 35 starts – figuring out why he’s on 50 per cent higher wages than Barkley is harder than calculus.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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