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Everton's season under Roberto Martinez has been the most successful in their Premier League history, recording their highest points total under the Spaniard and a big part of their campaign has been the development of midfielder Ross Barkley. The 20-year-old's impressive displays have him on the verge of a call-up to the England squad for the World Cup this summer, but is also attracting interest from some of the bigger clubs in the Premier League, leading Martinez to say that there is no pressure to sell the midfielder.
“The one thing everyone needs to know is that we are not in need of selling players,” said Martinez, “If we sell, it will be because the time is right and the squad will be in a stronger position because of it. And will there be new faces coming in and going out this summer? Of course. With every window we need to get fresher, we need players coming in. But we do not have to sell.”
The Toffees appear to have missed out on a top four finish as Arsenal look poised to secure the final Champions League place, but forward Steven Naismith has told of how everyone is still focused on getting into Europe for next season, particularly as they can still drop out of fifth place.
“All we are concentrating on is securing European football. We would be so disappointed if we couldn’t finish in fifth," said Naismith. "I think we have deserved it for the way we have played this season and the push we have had for fourth. It’s disappointing that [it seems] we have missed out on that [finishing fourth] because, although it’s not mathematically impossible, we slipped up against Crystal Palace and at the weekend.
“We will definitely be doing all we can but Arsenal have capitalised. We will fight to the end but the main thing is that we have got to finish fifth," he added.
Meanwhile, Everton will look to strengthen their squad this summer, and one new player linked with a move to the club is West Ham midfield Mohamed Diame. The Senegalese international was signed by Martinez whilst at Wigan, and with loanee Gareth Barry set to return to Manchester City at the end of the season, the Spaniard will need to bring in another central midfielder. Diame, who has previously been linked with Liverpool, would certainly fit the bill.