Roberto Martinez insists Everton have no requirement to sell their star players this summer, which would certainly include Ross Barkley.
The 20-year-old has recovered from breaking his leg in three places back in October 2010, to finally live up to the expectations he began to set when joining the Toffees when he was just 11. He has had loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United in the meantime, but he has shown he is more than capable of holding his own in the Premier League.
Barkley has featured in 33 top-flight matches this term, of which 24 have come from a starting position, and he has chipped in with five goals and two assists. This has resulted in him earning three full international caps with England, whilst he was also amongst the six players nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award.
His performances have also, perhaps inevitably, led to speculation over his future, with reports claiming Chelsea and the two Manchester giants are prepared to pay a handsome fee to sign him during the summer window. However, the midfielder remains under contract at Goodison Park, and Martinez insists he is under no pressure to sell.
“The one thing everyone needs to know is that we are not in need of selling players,” the former Wigan Athletic manager told club shareholders on Tuesday. “If we sell, it will be because the time is right and the squad will be in a stronger position because of it. And will there be new faces coming in and going out this summer? Of course. With every window we need to get fresher, we need players coming in. But we do not have to sell.”
One player Martinez will certainly hope to sign ahead of the 2014-15 campaign is Gareth Barry. The experienced midfielder has spent the season on loan in the blue half of Merseyside, during which time he has played 36 times. The 33-year-old is a free agent this summer, so the Toffees are hopeful of taking him permanently.
However, the Manchester City midfielder has aspirations of playing in the UEFA Champions League, and there have been suggestions that Arsenal, who need just one point from their final two games to ensure they finish ahead of Everton in fourth place, are interested in taking him to the Emirates Stadium in time for the new season.