Everton latest: Manchester City outcast linked as Jagielka calls for signings

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Everton's top four hopes ended this weekend as they lost 3-2 to Manchester City before Arsenal secured a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion to take the last Champions League spot this season, but manager Roberto Martinez has moved to laud his team for a superb season in his first campaign in charge.

"I think this season is an incredible platform for us. To get the opportunity to finish fifth is a remarkable achievement," said Martinez. "Champions League football has to be the target and maybe we need a little bit of a period to get there. We want to finish this season strongly and if we can get into European competition it would be a more realistic first step."

"If we can achieve Europe then it will a busy summer to ensure we don't lose all the things that we've shown this campaign - that will be the most important aspect of the summer," added the Spaniard.

Part of the Toffees' success this season has been the superb contributions from loanees Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeu, but with all three scheduled to return to their parent clubs at the end of the season, defender Phil Jagielka has called for the club to recruit adequate replacements for the trio.

"We'd need to replace Gareth [Barry], Rom [Lukaku] and Gerard [Deulofeu], if they move on. We can't flourish otherwise," said Jagielka. "It's difficult to bring in players of the same quality but that's the manager's job.

"We'll be the first to thank the lads if they decide either not to extend their loans or against coming back next season. We'll thank them for what they've done because we knew that was the situation when we signed them; that we maybe only had them for a season."

"So now we need to unearth a few more gems or twist people's arms to get them to stay next season," he added.

With a European campaign on the horizon, Martinez will be looking to strengthen his squad this summer regardless of the futures of those three loan stars, and a new name linked with a move to Merseyside is Manchester City midfielder James Milner. The England international is finding first team football hard to come by at the Etihad Stadium, and speculation suggests that Martinez is looking to take the former Aston Villa man to Goodison Park this summer.

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