Roberto Martinez will not let his key men leave Everton in this transfer window
Published 23/01/2016 | 12:31
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is adamant none of his key players will be allowed to leave this month, despite new speculation about the futures of Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones.
Lukaku, their 19-goal top scorer, is set to make his 100th start for the club in Sunday's visit of Swansea but there were claims this week the Toffees had put a £65million price tag on his head.
Similarly, Chelsea have been linked with another move for England centre-back Stones, whom they failed to sign in the summer after having a £38million bid rejected, while Manchester City have reportedly identified midfielder Barkley as a replacement for Yaya Toure.
Everton successfully fended off all transfer interest in the summer and Martinez insists they will do the same for the remainder of this window.
"None of our players who have been performing well...are going to leave in January. That is the end of the matter," he stressed.
"January is not a window where we are going to bring any instability to our squad.
"Any talk about players getting evaluations or leaving the club is a waste of time."
When it was suggested to the Catalan that every player has his price he responded: "Not in January.
"We are not going to even consider losing a member of our squad who has been important and will be important for second half of the season."
Lukaku has scored 55 goals in 108 appearances for the club and has 12 in his last 12 matches.
Any decision to cash in would be controversial and, despite the continued speculation about Europe's bigger clubs circling, Martinez believes they can keep hold of the Belgium international even though he has expressed his desire on more than one occasion to play Champions League football.
"It (Lukaku's ambition) goes hand-in-hand because at Everton we want to play Champions League football, so it is good to have a shared target," added Martinez.
"He wants to score goals and become better. It has been a fantastic journey in the last 13 months.
"You have seen an evolution in his play which has been quite magnificent. He is a special footballer for us.
"He is on the verge of getting 100 starts for Everton in all competitions and that is an incredible landmark for a 22-year-old.
"More than anything that is because he is reliable, he has been consistently there and he is a focal point for us all.
"I am looking for him to become even better as a player and carry on with the big role he has in the team.
"Speculation is all positive. You don't get that sort of reaction if you are not playing well."
Everton midfielder James McCarthy (groin) and defender Seamus Coleman (calf) have returned to training this week but may not be quite ready for Sunday's game.
Midfielder Tom Cleverley, an unused substitute at Chelsea last weekend, may get a run-out while there are no injury worries over Steven Pienaar or Bryan Oviedo.
Meanwhile, Alan Curtis has been impressed by new head coach Francesco Guidolin's early impact at Swansea and compared the Italian to former Swans boss Michael Laudrup.
Guidolin will take charge of the Barclays Premier League strugglers for the first time at Goodison Park.
Curtis, who had been interim manager since Garry Monk's departure last month and will work alongside Guidolin, said the 60-year-old, who left his last managerial post with Udinese in May 2014, was up for the challenge of keeping Swansea in the top flight.
"Francesco addressed the players on Wednesday I think and spoke really warmly and passionately about what he expects from the players and what he will give to them," Curtis said at the pre-match press conference.
"He was really impressive considering he's got a limited amount of English. I thought he spoke really well.
"He seems really confident. I think he's very thoughtful, probably shades of Michael Laudrup in many ways and I think that he's quite reserved.
"He's very measured in how he speaks, but you feel there's a little bit of a fiery temper there as well. He's been impressive so far. I'm sure he realises the job he's coming into and feels very confident he can cope with it."
Guidolin will be assisted by former Chelsea midfielder Gabriele Ambrosetti, with Curtis describing his role as "an ally" to the new boss "in terms of the knowledge of the players and the league itself".
Swansea have a fully fit squad to choose from for the clash .