Everton have slapped a massive £50million price tag on contract rebel Ross Barkley.
The England midfielder has been given until the end of this week to decide whether he signs a new £100,000-a-week contract on offer at Goodison Park.
Boss Ronald Koeman has lost patience with the unsettled playmaker and wants to know if Barkley is committed to the Toffees or not.
But Everton will not allow Tottenham or Arsenal to pinch one of their prize assets on the cheap, and will hold out for a huge fee before they do business.
And that means the two London clubs will have to find the same kind of money Manchester City splashed out to land John Stones a year ago.
The Merseyside club believe they can collect a big fee for Barkley even though he only has one year to run on his current contract with the club.
If he allowed that deal to run down he would be able to leave Goodison Park next summer on a free transfer.
But according to The Times, Everton believe Robin van Persie’s £24m move from Arsenal to Manchester United set the benchmark for big fees for players with a year left on their contracts.
Van Persie was 29 when he moved to Old Trafford, and the market has inflated since then, so the Goodison Park board think £50m for a 23-year-old represents a fair price to ask.
And they are ready to challenge Spurs and Arsenal to stump up the money if they are so keen to sign a player who was once hailed as the bright young hope of English football.
Tottenham have watched Barkley all season and as a hungry young English player he fits the profile of talent they have been chasing for their squad.
And the Gunners are keen on Barkley as they prepare for a summer of change at the Emirates, desperate to return the team to challenging for the title.
The future of Alexis Sanchez is still unclear, and Everton are aware Arsenal will want £50m for the Chilean even though he also only has a year left on his contract, and is five years older than Barkley.
Toffees boss Koeman is taking a tough stance with Barkley over his contract, and is not prepared to give him any longer to decide on his future because he wants to plan his squad for next season.