Everton boss Roberto Martinez is confident that star midfielder Marouane Fellaini will stay at Goodison Park this summer, despite the midfielder being linked with moves to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
England full-back Leighton Baines is also in-demand this summer, but the question is can Everton keep hold of their star players this summer?
Everton have punched above their financial weight in recent years and it will be a major challenge for Roberto Martinez to help the Toffees progress next season.
One of the first issues that the Spaniard must face is trying to keep hold of star players Fellaini and full-back Leighton Baines.
Former-Everton boss David Moyes will officially start his new job at Manchester United on 1st July. Two of the players believed to be on the Scot’s summer transfer wishlist are Baines and Fellaini, two of Everton’s key players.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright revealed last week that he had asked Moyes not to come back to Goodison and take Baines with him to Old Trafford. However, there is no agreement that Moyes will not attempt to sign the England international.
Never has a full-back been so vital to a team’s attack, as Leighton Baines is to Everton. Like a lot of modern full-backs Baines’ best qualities are going forward and not his defensive abilities. He was near the top of the assist table in the Premier League last season and played every minute for Everton last season in the Premier League.
As a set-piece expert he is always a threat from free-kicks and corner-kicks. Baines is now rated as one of the top full-backs in the English top flight. The 28-year-old is one of Everton’s biggest assets, but losing Baines would be a major blow to Everton.
Marouane Fellaini was Everton’s top scorer last season with 11 goals in the Premier League last season from a second striker role. The big Belgium international made a blistering start to the season, but his form faded towards the end of the season.
Fellaini was linked with a January move, but decided to stay at Goodison Park to attempt to help the Toffees qualify for the Champions League. In the end, their challenge ended in a sixth place position in the Premier League.
Fellaini has stated in the past that he wants to play Champions League football. He could get that opportunity next season, with a minimum fee release clause of £22.5million in his contract. Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are all reportedly ready to activate that clause.
I feel like a heathen saying this, but selling Fellaini would not be the worst thing in the world for Everton. The 25-year-old’s form dipped towards the end of the season and he has shown a poor attitude at times while with the Toffees.
However, when on the top of his game he is very good player. He can play in a variety positions and his ability with both his feet and head make him a big danger to the opposition. Everton will be powerless to stop Fellaini if he wants to leave.
The midfielder has not actually asked to leave Everton and everybody at the club seem to think that he wants to stay.
Should Fellaini leave the club then it will allow Martinez the funds to strengthen in other areas of the squad. Everton chairman Kenwright has told the Spaniard that all the funds he raises through sales will be made available to re-invest in his team.
It will be difficult for Everton to hold onto their star players this summer. Moves to the likes of Manchester United could turn Fellaini and Baines heads. Everton are likely to lose one of the pair and it is most likely to be Fellaini.
Losing Fellaini may be a blessing in disguise, as Roberto Martinez looks to put his mark on his new team. Martinez has been positive and proactive about the issue, which to me shows that he is big enough for the Everton job.
Can Everton keep hold of their star players this summer?