Last Updated: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:11
Roberto Martinez hopes rewarding the performances of Leighton Baines will help keep him out of the clutches of Everton's rivals.
The England international has been one of the Toffees' most consistent performers over the last two seasons and the offer of a new contract has already been raised by chairman Bill Kenwright.
Baines, who has two years left on his current deal, has been linked with Manchester United for the last couple of summers and former boss David Moyes' appointment as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at Old Trafford will only increase speculation.
Martinez knows it is vital to retain the services of the 28-year-old and believes underlining his importance with the offer of an improved contract is the way to do it.
"It is very important and it's (about) rewarding players who have been phenomenal for the football club and I think Leighton is in that category," said the Spaniard.
"The chairman is very keen to express that and obviously I'm desperately looking forward to meeting the players.
"For Leighton, as the top performer he has been in the last few years, it is important that we reward his work and make sure that he can look forward to kicking on and go into the next chapter of his career with Everton.
"That's important for the club as a whole, not just the dressing room."
Have you an opinion on this story? Put your money where your mouth is and claim a free £25 bet.