Everton are to offer a contract extension to Leighton Baines and have not given up hope of Marouane Fellaini staying at Goodison Park as the new manager, Roberto Martínez, attempts to keep David Moyes's squad intact.
Martínez immediately began work on plans for next season following his unveiling as Moyes's successor on Wednesday, discussing transfer targets with the chief executive, Robert Elstone, that night and returning to the club's Finch Farm training complex at 8am on Thursday. The Everton manager intends to phone all of his first-team squad before pre-season training starts next month and intends to strengthen a team that finished sixth in the Premier League last season, not see it weakened by the potential departures of Fellaini and Baines.
Both Everton's prized assets are potential targets for Moyes at Manchester United while Chelsea are among those linked with a move for Fellaini, who has a £24m release clause in his contract. While powerless to prevent the Belgium international joining a club that activates the clause, Everton's chairman, Bill Kenwright, insists the midfielder's exit is not a foregone conclusion. A nd he revealed Everton will underline their commitment to retain Baines by offering the England international an extension to a contract that has two years left to run.
"Leighton is under contract and I've told David not to come back for him, although there is nothing to stop him," said Kenwright. "Most of our players, if not all of them, are under good, long contracts at the moment Leighton about a new contract but that will start. He knows we want him to stay.
"Marouane has given every indication he doesn't want to go. I think people were looking to see what was going to happen with the manager – the players have all been asking me – and Roberto's appointment is a decisive moment for a lot of people. Roberto is looking forward to getting all the players together and keeping hold of them. He rates them all."
Martínez's initial brief also involves talks with David Weir, Alan Stubbs and Phil Neville about remaining part of the back-room team at Everton. The three former Everton players lost out to the 39-year-old in the interview process for Moyes's job but Martínez hopes to add them to a coaching team including his Wigan staff of Graeme Jones, Kevin Reeves, the goalkeeping coach Iñaki Bergara and the conditioning coach Richard Evans. Neville, however, has offers to coach and continue playing elsewhere when his Everton contract expires at the end of the month.
"I need to speak to everyone at Everton," said Martínez. "There are a few positions I need to decide. I would love to have Evertonians on the management team, it's very important. They need to set the values of the club. I will be speaking to everyone here and obviously Alan and David are part of that. Phil is a little bit different now he's away [with England's Under-21s] but I will be speaking to him to see how he feels. It's a big moment in your career when you consider retiring and going into management or coaching."
Kenwright would like an Evertonian presence on the coaching staff but admitted that is not an obligation for Martínez. The Everton chairman said: "I don't think I can insist. He has never resisted, you see. I have said that I would like it, yes, but he was as much into that as I was from the first meeting."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © wonker