Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has said the struggling Premier League club "is not for sale" but that he is in talks to secure investment to help with building a new stadium.
Moshiri told the club's Fan Advisory Board (FAB) that he is looking for help financing the construction of Everton's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in a video posted on the club website on Tuesday.
The meeting was recorded prior to their 2-0 defeat to West Ham United on Saturday that kept the team second-bottom and also led to the dismissal of manager Frank Lampard.
The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday reported that Moshiri had put the Merseyside club up for sale, but an Everton spokesman on Tuesday refuted that claim, telling Reuters that Moshiri's speech to the FAB reflected the owner's plans.
"The club is not for sale but I have been talking to top investors, really quality, to bridge a gap [in funding] on the stadium," Moshiri told the club's FAB.
"I can do it myself and the reason I want to do it is to bring top sport investors to Everton. We are close to having a deal done. It is not selling the club at all. It is bringing more expertise in terms of sponsorship, commercial development and a lot of specialist sport investors have this pool of knowledge.
"The stadium is the best-performing area of our operation at the moment: on time, on budget. Once we get through the current underperformance fans can start dreaming with me. The stadium was never a luxury for Everton. For us, it was a necessity."
Moshiri and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright have been a target for disgruntled fans in recent weeks as the team continues to underperform. Supporters staged a protest following Saturday's defeat at the London Stadium, displaying banners of "Sack the board" and "Kenwright out".
Everton are one of only six ever-present teams in the Premier League and have not played outside the top flight of English football since the 1953/54 season.
Having only narrowly avoided relegation last season, the club are off the bottom of the table on goal difference having won just three of their 20 league games this term.
The search for a new manager is currently underway after Lampard became the seventh casualty of Moshiri's nearly seven-year association with the club.
Sean Dyche is the early frontrunner, while former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson and ex-Blues boss and current West Ham coach David Moyes have also been linked.
Moshiri sought to reassure fans that the team can still turn things around.
"The ambition for Everton is always to be part of the elite," he added. "We were part of the elite. Our goal is never to be in the bottom three. Our ambition is to play European football.
"We haven't succeeded today but we have laid the foundation to do it. We'll get there but we can only get there together."