MAROUANE FELLAINI does have a buy-out clause in the lucrative contract he signed at Goodison in 2011 – but Everton hope they can satisfy the Belgian’s Champions League ambitions on Merseyside.
Reports yesterday claimed that Fellaini could be prised from the Blues if a Champions League club bids £22 million or more for his services.
There is a buy-out clause in Fellaini’s contract – placed there at the request of his representatives – but the trigger fee is higher than the £22m reported.
Everton officials, who refused to comment on the story, believe a top-four finish this season would convince Fellaini to stay.
Chelsea are reported to be the club ready to test Everton’s resolve to keep hold of their talented 25-year-old, but not until the summer.
The Blues will not comment on possible transfer scenarios and refused to even discuss the possibility of Fellaini’s exit.
But it is understood that Chelsea, who took advantage of a similar buy-out clause to sign Demba Ba from Newcastle, see Fellaini as a long term replacement for Frank Lampard.
No bid is anticipated in January, and Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez was coy about any interest from his club in Fellaini.
“You know and we know we will see a lot of names in the newspapers,” he said at yesterday’s press conference to preview the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg with Swansea.
“Sometimes it is because it’s true, sometimes it’s the agents, sometimes it’s because they don’t have anything to talk about.
“It is normal in the transfer market but for us we just concentrate on football and playing Swansea.”