Everton defender Leighton Baines is prepared for Ronald Koeman to rotate his squad as they juggle Premier League and Europa League commitments, amid suggestions that a move for Leicester City starlet and mooted Tottenham target Demarai Gray is on the cards.
The Toffees have made seven first-team signings this summer as they attempt to compete on two fronts and are by far from finished in the transfer market, with a £20m ($22.4m) move for Leicester's Gray a distinct possibility after the England Under-21 international discussed a potential transfer with the former Premier League champions, according to the Daily Mail.
Gray cost Leicester £3.75m in January 2016 and would now likely command a fee upwards of £20m if he did leave for pastures new. Everton are not afraid of spending large sums of money in order to land their targets, but Tottenham are believed to be reluctant to shell out a sizeable fee for Gray, who featured sporadically under Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare last season.
Tottenham are also interested in Everton's Ross Barkley, but again are unwilling to pay the club's asking price, which is believed to have lowered from £50m to £35m in recent days.
Gray is believed to have grown frustrated at his lack of game-time at Leicester, but he would have to be prepared for spells on the substitutes' bench at Tottenham or Everton, a situation that Baines, 32, has seemingly made peace with.
"It felt good that (last week) was a competitive game – it felt like a proper game," Baines told Everton's official website. "It automatically focuses you, rather than you having to force yourself to do it.
"It is a lot of football but I think we have prepared for that. The squad is a lot bigger. We have boys who didn't make the squad last week who would get in other Premier League teams. We have lads out injured who would be first-team players. There is genuine competition for every position in the side.
"There will be times when there is rotation. It is the manager's job to juggle that, and he has a staff to help him with it. We understand it as players – we have to prepare for it and know decisions are being made for the right reasons.
"If you are not being picked for a week or two, you have to use that time productively and say, 'Okay, I am not featuring, maybe I have played a lot of games and really need to look after my body this week'. That is part of being a professional."
Koeman is gradually building a squad that looks capable of challenging on a number of fronts during the upcoming campaign but is still searching for a new centre-half, a striker and an attacking midfielder.
The Dutchman already has an abundance of options for his engine room at Goodison Park but is still not prepared with to part with Gareth Barry, who is believed to be a target for West Bromwich Albion.
The 36-year-old veteran signed a new one-year contract during the halfway point of last season, but Everton are keen to offer him fresh terms this summer in order to ensure he remains on Merseyside.