After a stuttering start to the season which saw David Moyes’s side fail to win in their opening six games, Everton rescued their form to comfortably finish seventh behind local rivals Liverpool.

The lack of investment in the squad at Goodison Park last season, just £500,000 spent on one player, Joao Silva, while Magaye Gueye’s fee was undisclosed, has hindered the advancement of Everton in the Premier League. While others spend and improve, even Moyes admits his side will struggle to keep pace with the teams challenging for European spots.

Marouane Fellaini has been the latest to criticise the ambitions of the board on Merseyside as he labelled Everton as a team ‘below the top level’ and is looking to play for a side who are playing in the Champions League and challenging for silverware.

The 23-year-old has been influential in the defensive realms of Everton’s midfield since arriving from Standard Liege in 2008. Having initially been criticised for a rash tendency in challenges, which inevitably led to a rising card count, the Belgium international has begun to learn the art of timing, and thus has become more of an important cog in Moyes’s system.

His statistics last season highlight how vital Fellaini has become in Everton’s defensive midfield. In 20 league appearances, the Belgian averaged 3.4 tackles per game (the highest out of his team-mates), a 58% aerial duel success rate (the highest out of the side’s midfielders), a respectable 1.7 interceptions per game and clearances per game rate 3.1.

His defensive stature in midfield, whilst impressive, has limited the Belgian’s ability to contribute to Everton’s attack, however. Fellaini scored just one league goal last term whilst providing two assists. For a player who has displayed his aerial prowess in the centre of the pitch, Moyes may have hoped Goodison Park’s latest want-away would have deployed that ability from situations inside the box.

Another flaw in Fellani’s game last term was the amount of times he lost the ball. On average, he was dispossessed twice each game, which was the highest out of any Everton player. His key pass per game count was also a timid 0.9, but his pass success rate was a modest 77%.

Moyes now has to weigh up whether the midfielder’s worth to the team counters the potential investment a transfer fee for the Belgian could bring to Goodison Park.

The Everton boss needs to keep hold of his influential players in order to progress but at the same time, the sale of one could spark the influx of players required to challenge for a European place.

Should Everton Sell Marouane Fellaini?