• Various options as loan from Manchester City to Everton ends
• 'He has developed a great affinity to the Goodison club'
Roberto Martínez expects to hear next week whether Gareth Barry intends to sign permanently for Everton and believes the 33-year-old's final decision will not be based on the financial terms on offer.
The midfielder has enjoyed a fine season on loan at Everton from Manchester City and becomes a free agent when his lucrative contract at the Etihad Stadium, believed to be worth about £100,000 a week, expires in the summer. He missed Saturday's game against City as he was ineligible to play against his parent club but he is expected to return for the final game of the season at Hull City on Sunday.
Martínez has made no secret of his desire to keep Barry at Goodison Park on a permanent basis, with the England international making 36 appearances this season and forming a solid partnership with James McCarthy in central midfield. Everton, who have subsidised Barry's City salary this season, would be unable to offer a contract close to what he has received from the Premier League leaders but Martínez believes that will not be the deciding factor.
"We will talk after the Hull game," the Everton manager said. "The most important thing was to make sure this season was a real success for him especially and then the parent club, and ourselves. Gareth is such an incredible guy, he is not a normal footballer. One day he will be a manager. He's got such a bright mind in terms of understanding the game and he is so down to earth for someone who has had so many appearances in the league. He's a very different type of footballer.
"We will sit down and I'm sure we will get a straight answer one way or another. It's not about finding a good contract or financial package, it's more about the next footballing chapter and where he can enjoy it next."
Martínez has not pushed Barry for a decision on his long-term plans and claims to have no inkling of what the player intends to do, or what alternative offers he may have. "I think he has loved his time at Everton massively," the manager added. "He has developed a great affinity to the club. In the same way, you don't know where his next step is.
"Does he want to go abroad and experiment with a different culture? What is clear is that we would love to have him and give him the next step here. I will respect Gareth. He has been such an incredible professional that he only deserves respect from our point of view."
The Everton manager believes Barry has several years remaining at the highest level. "He is a Sylvain Distin-type," he explained. "He is the player who covers the most distance in every training session, never mind every game." While preparing to wait until after the World Cup to sign Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis from Chelsea, should the opportunity arise, and hopeful of luring Jack Rodwell back to Everton from City, Martínez has plans in place should Barry move elsewhere.
He added: "It's important we try to keep him at the club but in the same way if he doesn't stay, it's our job to make sure the next squad in the next window is as strong or stronger than what we have. I learned many seasons ago that you can't waste any energy on the ifs and buts. It is more about what you can affect. You need to put things in place and make sure the options ahead are exciting and that is where we are as a club."