Everton boss Roberto Martinez admits even a new contract for Leighton Baines can't prevent the England full back leaving for Manchester United in the near-future.
Baines was subject to two bids from the Premier League champions in the summer and while former team-mate Marouane Fellaini moved following David Moyes to Old Trafford, the 28 year old remained on Merseyside.
Martinez had originally planned to reward Baines' loyalty with a new deal but recently backtracked stating negotiations had been put on hold. The former Wigan Athletic defender has less than two years to run on his current contract and United have been linked with making another bid in the January transfer window.
According to club accounts for the year to 31 May 2012, Everton possessed the 10th highest wage bill in the Premier League but would likely offer Baines a bumper new deal to heed off interest from United. However, according to Martinez even new terms won't prevent Baines from leaving.
"I don't think there will be any less speculation if he signs a new contract," Martinez said. "He's not just a top left-back, he's an Evertonian icon. That's what he represents to us.
"Signing a contract or not wouldn't change anything. [Edison] Cavani signed a new one and then he got sold a few months later.
"Throughout the world of football, top players have become big assets.
"They are in demand and that's never going to change. It could be that by next summer the contract becomes an issue because you don't want assets to be devalued, but the most important thing for us is he continues enjoying his football and is happy here.
"We will never get away from the debate and speculation but I see it as a compliment. No-one would talk about a player who wasn't doing well."
Baines has been included in the PFA Team of the Year in each of the past two seasons and his recent performances for England has put Ashley Cole, England's first choice left-back, under severe pressure ahead of next year's World Cup finals.
Following two rejected summer bids for Baines, Moyes is keen to reinforce United's options at full back with Patrice Evra's form having dipped of late. Fabio, who has previously played at left-back, has made his only appearance on the right this season while Alexander Buttner has played just twice.