David Moyes has left the 'door open' for Steven Pienaar to commit his future to Everton.
The Toffees fear their South African playmaker could be on his way next summer, with his current deal running down.
They are understandably keen to avoid losing such a talented player for nothing and hope a contract dispute can be settled before it is too late.
Pienaar has already spurned one offer from the Everton board, but talks regarding an extension could yet be re-opened.
Moyes hopes that proves to be the case as he is reluctant to see his side lose of one of their most creative influences.
He said: "I'd like to think we could see if there's room for manoeuvre.
"I've tried to leave the door open as long as I can. We'd be delighted to keep him."
Meanwhile, Moyes has challenged his misfiring frontmen to raise their game as the Toffees look to edge clear of trouble.
The Goodison Park strike force have managed just three Premier League goals between them this season and have been told in no uncertain terms that that return is not good enough.
"Louis Saha was through against Blackpool, Becks (Jermaine Beckford) was through in one of the other games - that isn't luck, that is bad finishing," said Moyes.
"That is more to do with the way the results have been going rather than luck.
"We have never got that momentum we talk about. We need to try to find it, we need to try to get ourselves away from the wrong end of the table and start getting closer to the teams at the top.
"How do you win if you don't take your chances?
"That is football, we have to keep going. We have to keep creating the chances and hopefully convert them."