Roberto Martinez thinks achieving Champions League qualification is key to securing the long-term futures of key Everton assets. The 42-year-old boss has admitted it is playing in Europe's premier club competition – rather than winning cups – that will convince the likes of John Stones, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku to remain at Goodison Park.
The Toffees have not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 1995 and while Martinez would love to be the man who ends that drought, he thinks European qualification is more important to the club's long-term future. "I don't think winning a cup will keep the young players. I think qualifying for the Champions League could help to keep young players," said Martinez, according to Sky Sports.
Martinez was appointed Everton manager in 2013 and has subsequently tried to reduce the age of his squad, bringing in Lukaku and handing significant playing time to Stones and Barkley. All three players have attracted interest from other Premier League outfits, but Martinez claims he is under no pressure to sell any of his prized assets.
"Three years ago, it was a very experienced team who knew how to win games, but we had some sort of ceiling," said the Everton boss. "Now we have gone very, very young with immense potential to go beyond that ceiling, and there has been investment in that potential so we will get the rewards from it.
"There are no financial decisions that will dictate what this squad needs. I wouldn't say I don't want to win silverware, because that is what this club is about and our aim is to have that drive and ambition to do that, but the aim is get into the top four, and that is what we have set out to achieve."
Everton currently sit in the bottom half of the Premier League following their 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park. They host Manchester City in the first leg of their Capital Cup semi-final on 6 January and take on Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup three days later.