Everton boss David Moyes is optimistic the club will soon reach agreement with Marouane Fellaini over a new contract.
The Toffees broke their transfer record when they signed Fellaini for an initial £15million from Standard Liege on a five-year deal in 2008, and he has since developed into a cult figure at Goodison Park. Moyes revealed in April that talks had begun with the 23-year-old Belgium international about extending his stay and the manager believes negotiations are now nearing conclusion.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Everton's Carling Cup fourth round tie at home to Chelsea on Wednesday night, Moyes said: "I think it is very close to getting done. I think the chairman and the chief executive have been working on it for a while.
"I've been waiting on the good news and hopefully it's not too far away. He has been a really good player for us over the last few seasons and if we can keep him it will be really good."
Everton were beaten 3-1 at Chelsea in the league 10 days ago, although Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas is set to field a considerably altered line-up on Wednesday.
Moyes indicated that he would make some adjustments from his team's 3-1 victory at Fulham at the weekend, but not sweeping changes.
"I've no idea if he (Villas-Boas) will make changes or not - I don't know where on the priority list this cup competition comes for him," Moyes said.
"But there aren't that many trophies to win and you don't want to give up any too easily."
Asked if he saw it as an opportunity to give some of his younger players a run-out, Moyes said: "It will be - we have the chance if we want to do that. But we want to try to progress as well. We will be working with roughly the same 18 or 19 players.
"We have got a few knocks going into the match, and we will just need to assess them beforehand."