For the last few years, the subject of Marouane Fellaini's future has been a prominent topic of discussion around Everton.
Many recognise his Champions League credentials and his stellar performances this season have only heightened speculation that his Goodison Park days are numbered.
However, this is a scenario the Toffees must prevent for as long as possible.
David Moyes' side currently sit just outside the Champions League places, in sixth, having been involved in the conversation for fourth throughout the season.
Sunday's tame defeat at Old Trafford has somewhat dampened this talk, but for the Toffees to bridge the gap any time soon, keeping a player of Fellaini’s ilk is, quite frankly, essential.
With 10 Premier League goals already this season, he’s the Toffees' top scorer and also has three assists to his name.
He’s been directly involved in 33 percent of his side’s 40 league goals, and without his strikes, Everton would be eight points worse off, lingering in mid-table mediocrity.
When he's not scoring or creating himself, he's often drawing the attention of the majority of defenders, freeing up space for others to exploit.
Replacing his substantial input would be a near-impossible challenge.
The Belgian is undeniably Champions League material, and losing a player of his calibre would dramatically reduce the Toffees' hopes of reaching that stage any time soon.
Considering how tantalisingly close they are at the moment, surely one more season with the Belgian on board is worth actively pursuing.
Keeping Fellaini at this stage also sends out the perfect message to the rest of the squad and, perhaps most importantly, David Moyes.
Everton's manager is out of contract in the summer, and what better way to convince him of the club's ambition than by tying down his marquee player?
Should Fellaini depart, it's seems less likely Moyes would want to commit himself to another long-term stint at Goodison Park, especially considering his lack of support in recent transfer windows.
Can Everton keep hold of Fellaini past the summer?
Clearly the cash-deprived Toffees will need a handy return on their most expensive signing, who currently eats up more wages than anyone else. However, given his contractual status, temporarily delaying his departure date would not significantly affect his sell-on fee.
Should Everton somehow manage that this season, it would obviously be far easier to keep hold of the Belgian for the considerable future.
Sadly, without that top-four finish, keeping hold of Fellaini may prove one of the toughest tasks for the Everton board.