Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini is one of the top targets of the January transfer window.
The press have reported no concrete bids for the sometimes want-away midfielder, but the consensus is that Everton will only be able to keep hold of their midfield bastion as long as he wants to stay. If this is the case, there is very little Everton could do to convince their big-haired behemoth to stay.
However, if Fellaini is torn between pastures old and new, what can the Toffees do to keep hold of their prized asset?
Well, an huge injection of cash at the ownership level would be nice.
Everton's latest round of financial figures prove to be grim reading, and if the club is not careful, with such a high payroll, their very future could be in danger. Obviously, we hope it doesn't get that far, but if current owner Bill Kenwright and the host of firms enlisted to help could finally find a moneybags to take over, it would become much easier to keep Fellaini.
This is probably the most outlandish way to keep Fellaini at the club, but we can but dream.
With the rise in television fees coming into effect next season, Everton should have some sort of transfer money to play with once summer arrives. If this is so, in order to hold onto Fellaini, they must spend wisely and strengthen their squad effectively in order to show Fellaini that he is playing for a club with great ambition
Everton must continue their quest for fourth in the Premier League and secure that coveted Champions League spot. Marouane Fellaini deserves to be playing football in Europe's elite competition, and if Everton cannot give him his chance, he will move to a club that can.
It seems as though Everton will at least keep their star until summer, and if Champions League football is on the horizon, the Belgian could be persuaded to stay on further and help the side that gave him his break in the English game establish themselves in European competition once again.
Another key piece that Everton must secure is the future of manager David Moyes. While much ink has been spilled on Fellaini and Everton's other star Leighton Baines, Moyes' contract situation has flown under the radar everywhere outside of Liverpool.
If the Scot moves, so does the Belgian.
Fellaini will want to strike while his iron is hot and move to one of England or Europe's giants as he crests into his peak years unless Moyes can convince him otherwise. Arguably Everton's greatest asset, Moyes must be looking for the same sort of European stability that his midfielder must crave—a chance to showcase his ability on the biggest stage.
Moyes has tied himself to the fate of Fellaini and Baines, repeatedly stating that if the club loses its best players then they may well be searching for a new manager at the end of the season too.
Moyes has moulded Fellaini into an attacking force but he may have to begin playing the Belgian in his desired position of defensive midfield.
Fellaini may be the only person in the world who believes he is destined for a more defensive role but if the Belgian were to become more forthright in his insistence, the Toffees may have to re-allign their system to appease their star player.
This seems unlikely as Fellaini is reaping the rewards of his advanced role, not just by scoring but with the extra media attention his performances have garnered, a run of poor form could soon change things and an openly disgruntled Fellaini - like Joleon Lescott before him - would be deeply detrimental to a side that so relies on harmony.
Like all transfer stories, we operate in the hypothetical.
Fellaini has said he does not want to leave Everton: he may love the club, the city, the supporters and see out the rest of his career in a royal blue jersey.
But you cannot help but think that the European and managerial future of Everton will be key to whether Fellaini sticks with the Toffees or tries his luck elsewhere.
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