Manchester United boss David Moyes is growing increasingly confident of signing Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini in a move that would see him follow his former manager to Old Trafford.
Despite a clause in the Belgian’s contract expiring that would have allowed him to move should a club offer £23m, United are still keen on bringing in the 25-year-old to strengthen their midfield having pulled out of the race to sign both Willian and Mesut Ozil.
Roberto Martinez is determined not to lose his star midfielder though, having scored 12 goals last season playing in a role just behind the striker.
“When you are in a strong position financially you will never sell a player for less than the buy-out clause,” claimed Martinez.
“The buy-out clause gives you control as a buyer. We have had no approaches for Marouane Fellaini.
“Just because you have a clause it doesn't mean you are stopped from putting a bid in for less money, that's never been the case. If someone meets the valuation, you haven't got a say as a club. As a manager, that worries you because you don't have a decision to make.
“I don't want to be surprised that I am not losing a player. I think maybe clubs know he is very, very happy at Everton. I think this season, or this window is different in that a World Cup is just around the corner and sometimes players are quite happy not to unsettle their routine.
“The World Cup is a big event and a player wants to carry on with your good routine from a football point of view and make sure you don't gamble on changing that. We want to keep our best players. We want to improve window after window. If you lose players it's harder.”
Having seen Merseyside rivals Liverpool take a tough stance with wantaway striker Luis Suarez in refusing to bow to his desire to leave for Arsenal, Martinez admits that Everton may not be in the same position should a significant offer come in for Fellaini, or any other of their players as United maintain theirinterest in left-back Leighton Baines.
“If there is an offer on the table then we will have to look into it,” amitted Martinez, who remains keen on signing his old Wigan midfielder James McCarthy. “I have always said that as a club you need to be able to cope with any situation. If you lose a player you need to be able to replace him.
“There is never a manager or a player who is bigger than the football club, the recruitment department at Everton and every department at the club is ready to cope with any situation that is thrown at us.”
Everton kick off their Premier League campaign later today against Norwich in what will be Martinez’s first competitive fixture in charge of the Toffees.