London – Everton manager Roberto Martinez laughed off speculation that Merseyside rivals Liverpool are preparing a huge bid for his England midfielder Ross Barkley.
Barkley, 20, is expected to be a member of the England squad that travels to Brazil for this year's World Cup after a superb season at Goodison Park.
His form has prompted claims in the British media that Liverpool are prepared to spend £38 million ($63.6 million, 46 million euros) to take him to Anfield, but Martinez gave the stories short shrift.
Alluding to reports of interest in Barkley from Manchester United earlier in the season, he joked: “In terms of the speculation, we already turned down a £50 million bid from United, so we're not going to take £38 million from Liverpool.
“It's quite enjoyable to speak about speculation. I think it shows how well our players are doing and those are the type of football compliments that we want coming our way.”
Martinez was speaking ahead of his side's home game with Crystal Palace on Wednesday, when they will bid to register an eighth consecutive Premier League victory. – Sapa-AFP