No pressure to sell young talent, says Everton's Martinez
30 April 2014, 14:20
London - Everton manager Roberto Martinez said he was under no financial pressure to cash in on the young stars that have helped sustain his side's push for a place in the Premier League top four.
Midfielder Ross Barkley and defender John Stones have been two of Everton's bright lights this season, winning the faith of their manager despite being only 20 and 19 respectively and both have been talked about as contenders for Roy Hodgson's England World Cup squad.
Fifth-placed Everton, whose hopes of Champions League qualification were hit by a 2-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday, are not on the same financial footing as the league's other leading sides, and sold midfielder Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United for 27.5 million pounds ($46.33 million) in September.
Three of their top performers this season - Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeu - are at the club on loan and the performances of Barkley and Stones has led to speculation that they were transfer targets for other teams.
Speaking to club shareholders on Tuesday, Martinez said they would only sell players for "football" reasons, not financial ones.
"The one thing everyone needs to know is that we are not in need of selling players," Martinez was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
"If we sell, it will be because the time is right and the squad will be in a stronger position because of it. What is important as a football club is that you don't have to sell to survive. That is not going to happen.
"Will there be new faces coming in and going out? Of course. With every window we need to get fresher, we need players coming in. But we do not have to sell."
Martinez, in his first season in charge after replacing David Moyes, said players under the age of 24 had played three times as many minutes this season as last term and he was determined to keep showing faith in them.
"The biggest success story of our season has been the development of our young players," he added.
"For me it is extremely exciting to see how players like Ross Barkley and John Stones have developed, and that will continue to be central to what we want to achieve here.
"As long as young players are treated the same as the guys who have played 500 games, then they understand that there is a learning process, and that they have to keep improving. It is easy to motivate them in that way."
Club chief executive Robert Elstone also said it had identified a site for a new 50,000 seat stadium to replace Goodison Park, although it would require financial support from the Liverpool City Council.