The captain of Everton, Phil Neville, yesterday said it would be "a major disaster" if Everton did not spend more heavily this summer on players the Premier League's top four clubs aspire to buy.
There is no better evidence of Everton's "glass ceiling" than the fact that Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal were the only sides to beat them at Goodison this season and that, Neville said, must now change.
"Now we have to be competing for players with the clubs above us," he said. "To catch them we have to be looking at the same players they are. If not, fifth will be the maximum we can expect. In the big games, especially against the top four, maybe we have missed that special player a little bit, and that's what we need to find this summer.
"We have to press on and in footballing terms it would be a major disaster if we didn't push on and keep progressing as a club. We have to bring in the right players, better players than we have already, and there's not too many out there."
Everton are all too aware that Spurs, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Blackburn are already spending bigger and Everton manager David Moyes said on Sunday that finishing fifth next season would be harder. Moyes will raise the matter with chairman Bill Kenwright tomorrow.