McCarthy's not for sale, says Martinez
Martinez issues hands-off warning as he plans to build team around midfielder
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has had to fend off interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in recent times for James McCarthy, who is reportedly angry that he has not been offered an improved contract.
Yesterday, the Spaniard revealed why he wanted so desperately to keep the 24-year-old midfielder (above), who followed him from Wigan on a £13 million ($27.7m) move in 2013.
Martinez said: "James McCarthy is a phenomenal asset. We spent a huge amount of money to bring him into our football club and we will build a team around him.
"He's got a long-term contract with Everton, he's enjoying his football... and we are going to build the future around him."
The Toffees have already signed winger Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona), midfielders Idrissa Gueye (Lille) and Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), while rebuffing Chelsea's £20m offer for talented defender John Stones.
Martinez will mould these players together with the experienced heads of Leighton Baines, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar as the Merseyside club mount another challenge for the Premiership's top-four the coming season.
The Toffees ended a "disappointing" 11th last season, after finishing fifth in 2013.
Martinez acknowledged that it will be an uphill challenge to break into the exclusive Champions League group, with United and Liverpool splashing the cash in the transfer market.
Martinez said: "It is impossible to do it (qualify for Champions League) overnight. The amount of money certain teams have make it very competitive, and difficult for us to reach the top four.
"But we are going about achieving it in a different manner - by creating a solid group and giving younger players bigger roles earlier than other clubs."
Last season, the Everton manager gave debuts to youngsters Tyias Browning, 21, Luke Garbutt, 22, and Brendan Galloway, 19, while breakout player Stones was recently termed as a "Rolls Royce" of a defender by former Premiership stars Alan Smith and Niall Quinn.
Martinez added: "I am extremely excited about the talent in our squad... and it's not about who's in front of us (in the league table) but how good we can be, and how quickly we can reach our full potential."
And while Jonny Evans has been strongly linked to Goodison Park, Martinez emphatically said yesterday that the United defender will not be joining the club's pursuit for Champions League football.
This was despite reports in the UK claiming that the 27-year-old Northern Irishman will move for around £7m.
The manager said: "No, it's not true, nothing I know of.
"I've always said that I will not comment on names that are shared around, but I can tell you that there's nothing true about that."