Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits he has no control over the futures of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, hinting he cannot guarantee they will be at Goodison Park next season.
Baines was the subject of a £12 million bid from Manchester United last month, while Fellaini is rumoured to be a target for United and Arsenal, but both players have started pre-season training with Martinez at Everton.
The new Toffees boss has always spoken confidently of holding on to his two star men since he succeeded David Moyes as Everton boss last month, but he was less confident as he was asked to give his club’s supporters an assurance that the duo will remain a part of his squad.
"You should never ask a manager that," he is quoted in the Daily Mirror. "The modern game does not allow a manager to have that control.
"I don’t think speculation is healthy. We are just trying to become as good as we can before the transfer window closes. If we get clubs talking about our players we take it as compliment because it means the players have been impressing and doing really well.
"Everyone is really focused to try to fight for that starting spot at the beginning of the season. The competitive level in this group is quite impressive."
Martinez went on to confirm United have yet to return with a second bid for full-back Baines, while Everton have persistently denied reports that Arsenal have been in contact over the availability of Belgian midfielder Fellaini, who is believed to have a £24 million release clause in his contract.