Everton boss Roberto Martinez has admitted that the Merseyside club must qualify for the Champions League if they are to keep their star players at Goodison Park.
John Stones has been heavily linked with a move to both Chelsea and Manchester United, while the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley are also sought after.
The Toffees have built an excellent squad of players and will be in the running for a top six finish this term.
However, Martinez has expressed that the side in blue must qualify for next season’s Champions League if the likes of Stones is to stay at the club.
“There are two things that can keep a player happy,” The Mirror quote the Spaniard as saying.
“One is that he’s got a stimulation to become better and he can see that he’s growing every day and the other is to be in the best leagues and the best competitions.
“So you have to get into the Champions’ League, that’s the top and bottom of it. That’s why sometimes you have to set a season where everyone invests into the team and then see where that can take you, that’s what we’re doing now.
“I feel we are getting stronger. Over the last five windows we have been getting stronger by adding numbers, options and quality players and young players that become important. It comes to a point where we have to achieve and this season is very, very important for that.”
Chelsea’s dip in form this season has offered up an opportunity for other teams to potentially finish in the top four, with Everton one of the sides that could take advantage.
Martinez has an ongoing project at the Merseyside club and will need to keep his best players at Goodison to be successful.