Transfer Focus: Leighton Baines
Our Transfer Focus series looks at Leighton Baines as Roberto Martinez appears set to become his new manager at Everton.
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It's no surprise that David Moyes' appointment as the new Manchester United manager has seen Leighton Baines - and team-mate Marouane Fellani - heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford.
3. Leighton Baines
The left-back was a top performer once again for the Toffees this season and he's certainly upped the pressure on Ashley Cole in the battle for the England number three shirt.
Baines has only played his football in the North West during his career to date after starting out at Wigan as the Latics climbed the ladder to the Premier League.
That clearly helps put Moyes' Red Devils at the head of the queue but don't expect that to stop other clubs considering a move for the defender.
Roberto Martinez - who looks set to be named as the new Everton boss - will have to deal with plenty of interest in the club's star performers this summer but will Baines move on? Transfer Focus investigates...
Who Wants Him?
Manchester United (8/11 to sign Baines this summer with Sky Bet): This is definitely the move that makes the most sense. David Moyes knows all about Baines' quality after working with him since signing him for Everton from Wigan in 2007. During that time the 28-year-old has established himself as one of the Premier League's top performers and has been named in the PFA Team of the Year for two seasons in a row. There are though currently two left-backs in the Manchester United squad - Patrice Evra and Alexander Buttner - so is there the room for manoeuvrings to add another one? The Toffees won't want to sell but a big-money offer is going to prove very tough to reject.
Tottenham (10/1): Tottenham need a left-back. Benoit Assou-Ekotto doesn't provide the quality needed for a side with top-four aspirations and playing Kyle Naughton in the position is definitely not a long-term option. Danny Rose may well get a chance to stake a claim as he returns from time on loan at Sunderland but there is still a need for Andre Villas-Boas to strengthen. Baines would clearly boost Spurs but is a move to London a goer? I'm not sure but there are certain to have been discussions about the 28-year-old at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea (16/1): Not a move that is likely to happen with Baines' England rival Ashley Cole already in situ at Stamford Bridge. Both players have been very evenly matched over the last couple of seasons and it's very hard to see how the duo could be kept happy together on the Chelsea roster. The only possible way this situation could change is if Cole makes a summer move but that would appear to be unlikely with Jose Mourinho's Blues return. Tottenham appear to be the more likely London club to go in for the Toffees stalwart.
Also available with Sky Bet: Arsenal 20/1, PSG 20/1, Bayern Munich 25/1, Liverpool 33/1, Real Madrid 33/1, Barcelona 40/1.
Sky Bet's Richard Evison says: "With Roberto Martinez set to join Everton his first job could be to convince star full back Leighton Baines from joining up with his old manager David Moyes.
"We have seen money all summer for Baines to go to Old Trafford and he is currently 8/11 to do so before the end of the transfer window."
This season 54 games, eight goals - Baines appeared in every minute of Everton's Premier League games and showed his quality at both ends of the pitch throughout the campaign.
2011/12 season 45 games, five goals - Baines enjoyed a strong season for Everton and made two appearances for England in the games against Sweden and Norway.
International record 17 games, one goal - Baines made his England debut against Egypt in a friendly on March 3, 2010. He scored his first goal for the Three Lions in the 5-0 win in the World Cup qualifier with Moldova on September 7, 2012.
Baines was on Everton's books as a teenager but joined Wigan's youth set-up before making his debut for the Latics at the age of 17 in 2002.
Baines rejected a move to Sunderland in 2007 after being given permission by Wigan to open talks with Roy Keane's team.
Baines was part of England's squad for Euro 2012 but didn't feature in any games as Roy Hodgson selected Ashley Cole as his left-back.
Baines has been named as the left-back in the PFA Team of the Year for both of the last two seasons.
Baines was the only outfield player to play every minute of every Premier League game for his side this season. Matt Lowton and Steven Gerrard were also on track to achieve this before injuries at the end of the campaign.
What Baines Says
July 2012: "I've been aware of what's been said in the press but I don't know much beyond that. It doesn't do any harm (to be linked) but it doesn't do any good either. It's just one of those things that tends to swing around this time of year. People put two and two together sometimes they get four and sometimes they get three or five. It gets other people more excited than those involved."
May 2012: "The United link is flattering. There is no harm in people talking about it because it is a great club. But I'm at a great club as well, a club that I love."
What Others Say
April 2013, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard: "With Bainesy at left-back it's not a glamour position and I think it's hard sometimes to see just how effective he is. He's our key cog. We've got (Marouane) Fellaini and (Steven) Pienaar and those guys, and obviously Kevin Mirallas, can produce a bit of magic. But without Bainesy this team doesn't go. It's just hard sometimes for people on the outside to see that."
January 2013, Everton manager David Moyes: "I think Bainesy has been playing really well and over the last couple of games I've been thinking he needs another challenge. He has to rise to it a little bit more and I think he has done that. He has picked himself up again. He has a lot of things going for him and he is turning out to be as good a left-back as there is. He keeps getting better when teams try to stop him, he tries to work on how he can alter doing things and he is a really good player. He is great for a manager because he wants to keep improving and we are very fortunate to have him here. He is carrying his ankle (injury) a bit but he misses no days of training and he gets on with it so he is a great player to have but he is also a great player to work with. He is a really good footballer, intelligent - apart from his style of hairdo I think he is all right."
August 2012, Everton assistant manager Steve Round: "His heart is here definitely, he is a local boy. He loves the club, loves his team-mates and loves to go out there to play and perform. He has never mooted anything else. Fortunately we have not had any bids. Leighton is here so long may it continue. Leighton is a top player, arguably the best or one of the best left-backs in the Premier League and Europe. I think he has shown that on a regular basis over the past two or three seasons. He is consistent and his assist making is always in the top 10 of the Premier League and for a left-back that is very impressive."
Daily Mirror, June 1 Leighton Baines says Roberto Martinez would be a "terrific" choice to succeed David Moyes at Everton.
The Sun, May 14 New Manchester United boss David Moyes will raid former club Everton and bid £10m for England international defender Phil Jagielka, while Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini are also on his wish list.
The Sun, May 10 David Moyes is ready to raid his old club Everton for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.
Daily Star, February 24 Chelsea are planning a £15million swoop for Everton defender Leighton Baines.
WhoScored.com, (@WhoScored) - Most clear cut chances created in Europe's top 5 leagues 2012/13: Özil 24, Totti/Baines/Valbuena 22, Ribéry 21, Payet 20, Ibra/Rakitic 19
Oddschecker, May 9 (@Oddschecker) - Who will David Moyes sign this summer? After opening at 16/1 Leighton Baines is now 5/2.
OptaJoe, May 5 (@OptaJoe) - 100% - Leighton Baines is now the only outfield player to play every minute of every Premier League game this season. Solo.
OptaJoe, April 14 (@OptaJoe) - 102 - Leighton Baines is the only player in Europe's big five leagues this season to create 100+ goalscoring chances. Shuttle.
Rio Ferdinand, February 16 (@rioferdy5) - Baines is old school to the full....the beatles type hair + the spray on shorts...is he wearing tie ups just to cap the look off??!