Roberto Martinez has dismissed suggestions Everton would miss out on making Romelu Lukaku's stay permanent if they failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Reports in the Belgium international's homeland earlier this week claimed talks had taken place between Lukaku's agent and Tottenham about a move across London from parent club Chelsea, where he has effectively been deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho.
Everton remain in contention to qualify for next season's Champions League as they prepare to take on top four rivals Arsenal this weekend, but Martinez insists that quest will not define whether Lukaku, 20, remains at Goodison Park in the long run.
"A lot has been said about that but I don't think it's that straightforward," he told his pre-match press conference.
"I think the key is to have a football club that we keep improving and we keep moving forward - and that allows a player to see himself being able to develop and be instigated to fulfill his potential.
"I truly believe that Romelu has found that experience so far, very much exactly what he needed from a personal point of view, and I think the next seven games are going to be very important to see where the next chapter is for Romelu.
"But it's not about getting into the Champions League or not. I think it's more the focus of the football club. We want to carry on growing. We want to be a club that look to get into the Champions League consistently and I think that's very important for a young player that wants to fulfill his potential."