Ross Barkley

Former Everton player Alan Stubbs believes that Ross Barkley will stay at Everton for years to come as the situation at Merseyside has changed and the Toffees do not need to sell their best players to stay afloat.

Everton have sold Marouane Fellaini, Wayne Rooney and Mikel Arteta in the past to teams in the top four and want to put an end to such transfers after securing the fifth position this season.

Barkley has been the best player for the Toffees this season, running at defences with pace and scoring goals of the highest quality. His goal against Manchester City to give Everton the lead was one of extreme dexterity, the kind likely to attract a plethora of bids in the summer.

Manchester United have been linked with a £50m bid for the player and Liverpool have also expressed their interest in securing his services. However, Roberto Martinez is looking to build a team for the future and is weighing his options to strengthen the team in the summer while keeping his best players in the squad.

"When someone of his talent comes along they stick out like a sore thumb. Ross was like that as a young boy. He had a hunger I've only seen before in Wayne Rooney. He wanted to be the first on to the pitch, practising all the time. He just loves football," Stubbs told talkSPORT.

"The club are in a different position than we were five years ago, where we had to maybe sell one of the big stars.

"The club is in a much healthier place at the moment. Keeping Leighton Baines last summer was a huge statement.

"We've now got players in abundance who can kick us on to the next level. It's important now as a club that we start to keep these players, rather than sell one or two every now and then. Barkley is the future," he added.