Everton latest: Barkley signs new deal as McCarthy wants Europa League success

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The big news of the day for Everton is that young midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new and improved contract until 2018. The 20-year-old, who featured for England at the World Cup in Brazil this summer, had attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, but Barkley has agreed to spend at least the next four years on Merseyside - much to his delight.

"As soon as I got told about it, I knew I was going to sign," said Barkley. "It means everything, signing the new contract. It is a dream to have been playing for Everton all my life and today is a great thing for me. I am settled in at Everton, this is the Club I love. I see it as my home, I never think of anything away from Goodison. Putting pen-to-paper is great and now I want to focus on doing everything right on the pitch and that will hopefully lead to bigger and better things here."

Barkley wasn't the only young Everton midfielder to impress last season, as 23-year-old James McCarthy starred alongside Gareth Barry in the Toffees midfield. The Republic of Ireland international has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United, but says he's looking forward to getting started this season - which will include a Europa League campaign after Everton's fifth place finish under Roberto Martinez.

"A lot of people say the Europa League is not such a big thing but it was a massive achievement for each and everyone of us at the club. It will be tough but we will give it everything," said McCarthy. "Obviously, it will be a long season with the Europa League and I am sure the gaffer will bring in rotation. To be honest, I'm looking forward to getting into the season and getting going again. It is a big season ahead."

In the transfer market, Everton still need to sign a centre forward - and, unsurprisingly, Romelu Lukaku remains their top target. The Belgian international, 21, scored 15 goals in 31 games for Everton during a loan spell from Chelsea, and speculation continues to suggest that a permanent deal could be more of a possibility than first thought - even if Martinez has played down the situation.

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