Roberto Martínez has said he will not consider selling Leighton Baines to increase Everton's budget when the transfer window reopens in January.

The England international was a target of the former Everton manager David Moyes throughout the summer and Manchester United's interest is likely to continue in the absence of a new contract for Baines at Goodison Park. The left-back has entered the final two years of his current deal, at Everton, who raised the issue of a new deal for the 28-year-old at the end of last seasonBut before Sunday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur, Martínez insisted there is no pressure or temptation to follow Spurs' example with Gareth Bale, and cash in on a prized asset to strengthen in other departments.

Asked if he would follow the Tottenham transfer strategy, the Everton manager replied: "No, no, no. We were at that stage in the summer. But once we had that situation when Marouane [Fellaini] and Victor Anichebe left, that gave us the opportunity to reinvest and now we are in a position where we need a bit of continuity and time to squeeze our potential as a team.

"We're in a period where we need to be focusing on games and trying to push ourselves to the maximum, to see how good we can become this season. It's important we have that stability now."

Martínez accepts that speculation will continue over Baines' futureunless he signs a new contract. But he added: "I hope we get asked about Ross Barkley and James McCarthy also because that would be a good sign. I don't mind that, as long as we're in a position where we can control what happens. It's different when you've got someone out of contract. The problem is when you've got no one talking about your players because that means they're struggling.

"So I don't mind that as long as we are the ones who are making the calls. We are in a position now which means we can do that."

Everton are one point behind André Villas-Boas' fourth-placed side, who reinvested Bale's £86m transfer fee in over £110m worth of talent last summer. Martínez believes it is fair to expect a title challenge from Tottenham this season.

The Everton manager said: "It's such a unique season. Everyone has had a fair start because of all of the changes. I think that has given an opportunity for all of the squads to start from zero.

"If you look at individuals, Spurs have, if not the best, then certainly one of the best squads in the league. How long it will take to gel and to have that winning mentality that you need in this league remains to be seen, but the changes at other clubs have given Spurs a great opportunity to challenge for the title this season.

"f you get seven top players instead of one, in the long run it has to be better. The team is more rounded now in terms of they don't rely so much on the dynamic counter-attack they had with Gareth.

"Now they start to play with a real good concept from the back, they can break you down in many ways and they are keeping clean sheets. To have six clean sheets already this season and three away wins shows they have had a very, very strong start, and I don't think we have seen anything that's too eye-catching. So that proves the best is still to come."