Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he is confident the club can rebuff any moves for leading scorer Romelu Lukaku in the summer.
The Belgium striker admitted earlier this week that he would like to play Champions League football next season – an ambition he is unlikely to realise at Everton.
“I’m 23 next summer and it would be nice to play in the Champions League next season,” he said.
Lukaku’s 25 goals this season have alerted a number of Europe’s top clubs, with agent Mino Raiola this week claiming there was interest in the striker from Juventus, Paris St Germain and Real Madrid.
Everton were recently taken over by British-Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri and Martinez insists the club can compete with Europe’s biggest spenders. Whether they can satisfy the Belgian’s playing ambitions, though, is another matter.
“It is not unsettling at all because that should be the aspiration of everyone, wanting to be as good as you can and aspiring to be in the best competitions,” said the Spaniard.
“We need ambitious players and players who can carry the expectations of our football club.
“At Everton we have that aspiration, we want to be in the Champions League, we were knocked out of the League Cup semi-final, we are now in an FA Cup semi-final and we want to continue that momentum.
“What we shouldn’t be afraid of is losing players. We are in a position where financially we can compete with anyone in the world – things have changed radically in that respect.
“At this present time it doesn’t really bother me what the individual situations will be in the summer.
“The reality is to play for Everton has to be an honour and a privilege.
“The only thing that matters now is the team’s future.
“I’m looking at the talking he does on the pitch and the way he has been growing in confidence this season – that is all that matters.”
Lukaku cost Everton a club record £28million club when he joined from Chelsea in 2014, but with 25 goals in all competitions this season, the Belgian has more than justified that lavish expenditure.
“Three years ago we started working with him having made a huge investment and now you can see why we made that investment,” he added.
“It is a real satisfaction he has grown into the player we expected him to be.
“When you make an investment and you sign a player who doesn’t fulfil his potential, that is a worry for a manager.
“To have a player growing all the time and becoming one of the best talents in European football makes you extremely proud.”