David Moyes has stressed the importance of his attacking midfielder Marouane Fellaini, amid reports the Everton top-scorer could be heading for the exit door at the end of the season.
"He is a big part of our squad, not only because of his size," said the 49-year-old. "He is someone that we will be more than happy to see here again next year."
Fellaini's five-year contract is due to run until 2016, but a release-clause will allow the target man to make a move this summer, providing the buying club have qualified for next season's Champions League.
The midfielder has been pivotal for the Toffees this term, scoring 11 and assisting five of their 49 goals, while performing a more defensive duty on occasion. "He is a good player in either role and is capable of doing both," said Moyes, who believes the player's attacking opportunities will subside as he continues to flourish. "I think as he matures he might grow into a deeper role but currently he does give us a different attacking option and has scored quite a few goals."
But the inevitability of failure to secure a Champions League berth for the eighth successive season may mean the Belgian midfielder's immediate future lies away from Merseyside.
Despite conceding defeat in his side's pursuit of a top four finish, the Everton boss has lauded the transfer policy at Goodison Park, which has enabled the Merseyside club to consistently compete among the Premier League's elite. "We have chosen those players very wisely and that has given us a chance to compete with the teams at the top and we will continue to try and do that."
Combined with Moyes' shrewd dealings in the transfer window, there is a prospering youth set-up that boasts success stories from the likes of Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe. "I am great believer in giving young boys opportunities, if they are doing well I will always try and put them in the team and give them a chance."
"We have done well in finding some good local talent," said Moyes, who insists the academy's success is founded upon a necessity to take chances on young players. "Having a small squad it means we give them a chance sooner than some other clubs."
Ross Barkley is just one sterling talent to emerge from Everton's Finch Farm training complex, but his progress has been injury-plagued since breaking onto the scene in 2010. After returning from a loan spell at Leeds United, Moyes is all too aware of the dangers of haste. "There is expectation around him and there has been a lot of talk but he has missed a lot of football through injury," he said. "We have to manage him correctly and give him time."
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