It would be “unacceptable” if Everton were to fail in their bid for European qualification this season, says Darren Bent.

In exclusive conversation with Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams, the former England, Spurs and Aston Villa goalscorer said there would be no excuses if Everton failed to capitalise on their promising league position at this stage in the season.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side currently sit in 7th place in the Premier League but could move into a Champions League spot if they win their next match, against Wolves on 12 January.

Everton’s net transfer spend is £255million over the past five seasons, yet owner Farhad Moshiri has seen the Toffees finish no higher than 7th in that time.

Bent believes that, with the financial backing Ancelotti has received, now is the time to finally deliver.

He told Football Insider: “Where they are now, they’ve given themselves a real opportunity to get into that top four. So it would be bad now if they’ve been aiming for the top four and then end up finishing outside it.

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“When you’ve been in and around it for so long, your aim has got to be to finish at least 6th.

“Anything other than that, from where they’ve come from at the start of the season, is unacceptable. I’m sure Ancelotti would say the same.

“They’ve had the investment now, they’ve got owners that have got deep pockets, they’ve spent the money, they’ve brought in players like James Rodriguez. There was a time when Everton had no chance of getting players in like that.

“They’ve backed him so now’s the time that they need to be delivering results.”

The spending looks set to continue at Goodison Park, and the fans will expect results to reflect this come the end of the season.

As well as James Rodriguez, they brought in the likes of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey in the summer, and there are reports linking them with January swoops for Champions League winners Isco and Sami Khedira.

In other news, Everton are set to conclude their first bit of January transfer business and a former Premier League striker has given his verdict.