Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all look set to be disappointed in the race to sign Seamus Coleman.
According to manager Roberto Martinez - who gave an interview that was quoted by The Daily Mirror - Everton intend to offer the Irish full-back a new, improved long-term deal alongside the likes of Ross Barkley and James McCarthy.
"We won’t offer encouragement to any club over Seamus. He is on a long-term contract and we want to ensure we grow together and we need players like Seamus.Yes, it is the intention to offer him a new contract," he said.
"We are already thinking about Seamus, Ross (Barkley) and John Stones. We want to reward them, even James McCarthy.That is something we will look at this summer. They are players with long-term contracts.
"It is not a decision just to keep them at the club; it just highlights the next step of their development and rewards them for their performances.Seamus has got a long-term contract. James and Ross are the same. But we want to reward them.”
Despite the affable Martinez's claims to the contrary, it would certainly be difficult - in Coleman's case, anyway - not to view any sort of improved deal as at least partly an attempt to ward off interest from so-called 'bigger' clubs.
Manchester United, whose Champions League fate will be decided tonight as they welcome Greek champions Olympiacos to Old Trafford for the second leg of their last 16 tie, have been linked with the £20 million-rated defender since the close of the January transfer window, with Arsenal and Manchester City also credited with a strong interest.
Manchester United boss David Moyes - whose position at the club already appears to be under significant threat following a turgid run of results that includes a 3-0 humiliation at home to rivals Liverpool on Sunday - obviously knows Coleman well from his time in charge at Goodison Park.
Arsenal, meanwhile, could well have an urgent need for a new right-back this summer with doubts continuing to surround the future of Bacary Sagna, whose current contract at the Emirates Stadium is set to expire at the end of the season.
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