Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes that the Toffees would need to secure Champions League football if they want to keep hold of their young stars.
The Toffees will face Manchester City in the semi-final of the League Cup on Wednesday night, but according to Martinez, a Cup triumph will ultimately not be enough for the club to keep the likes of John Stones, Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu.
"I don't think winning a cup will keep the young players," said Martinez.
"Qualifying for the Champions League could help to keep young players. But we are in a position where the decisions will only now be for football reasons. We can't be worried about that – I'm not worried about that.
"I wouldn't say I don't want to win silverware, because that is what this club is about. But the aim is get into the top four, and that is what we have set out to achieve. How long that is going to take I don't know, but I don't think winning a cup will help us to keep players.
"What will make it easier in the modern game is to fight for the top four positions. That doesn't mean we are going to sell them if we don't get in the Champions League. But you wouldn't want to keep a player that doesn't want to represent our shirt either. You have to be realistic.
"The decisions will be for the good of Everton. Last summer nobody could leave and the fans know how resolute we were on that."