Everton’s Seamus Coleman believes the club outlined their desire to challenge at the top of the table by keeping hold of John Stones during the summer.
Premier League champions Chelsea tried to prise the defender away from Goodison Park during the last transfer window, but the Toffees snubbed their bids.
Coleman is currently with the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of their Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia and took time out from his international duties to respond to questions on his club side.
“It was a massive statement from the club [to keep Stones at Goodison Park],” he told reporters in Dublin.
“It was a great statement from the manager to keep him and we’re delighted to keep him. That’s what the manager wants, to keep his best players. He doesn’t want to sell his best players which is great for us.”
Coleman also heaped the praise on Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who has managed nine goals in all competitions for Everton this season.
“He’s a great finisher and if we can play to his strengths he’s a massive threat for us. We’re very happy that he’s scoring goals and long may that continue,” said Coleman about the 22-year-old striker.
“He’s a young lad, people forget, but he keeps scoring close to 20 goals a season so it’s great for us.”
Coleman’s ROI side are 4.20 to beat Bosnia in Zenica in the first leg of their qualification play-off on Friday.
Meanwhile, Everton are 1.53 to see off Aston Villa in the next round of Premier League fixtures after the international break, while Lukaku is 13.00 to be the top Premier League goalscorer in 2015/16.