Everton can compete with any club financially – Martinez


Everton’s new financial power means they can compete with any club in world football for players, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

Leading striker Romelu Lukaku, who has scored 25 goals this season, has fuelled speculation over his future after saying he intends to play in the Champions League.

“It’s not unsettling because that should be the aspiration of everyone,” Martinez told a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s game at Manchester United.

“We want to be in the Champions League and we want to be competing for titles. We want to create a positive momentum,” the Spaniard added.

“We want ambitious players. Rom is having a fantastic season and that is the only thing that matters.”

Everton’s owner Bill Kenwright finally ended his search for new investment recently when British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought almost 50 percent of the club.

“Financially we can compete against anyone in world football at this time,” Martinez added.

“We’re not in a position where we should be fearful of losing anyone because financially we can compete with anyone.

“Things have changed radically in that respect but at the moment it’s pointless to talk about individual situations because we have two months left to finish the season strongly.”

With nine games left, Everton are 13 points behind the top four.

Martinez also said defender John Stones will have to learn from his costly errors this season, because of the fierce competition within the squad.

Stones, 21, was at fault for the opening goal in Everton’s 2-1 Premier League loss to Swansea City in January and he conceded a last-minute penalty in a 4-3 defeat by Stoke City in December.

England manager Roy Hodgson also had to defend Stones this week after he lost possession to start a move that ended with the Netherlands scoring a penalty in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Wembley.

“His progression has been remarkable but he’s still learning, he’s trying to become as good as he can be,” Martinez said.

“He’s well ahead of where he should be. We should be more aware that he shouldn’t be under that amount of scrutiny at this stage of his career. It’s how you react to mistakes and he has strong character.

“He has to learn and has to learn quickly. The competition in our squad will force him to do that.”