Everton managed to fend off Manchester United’s interest in Leighton Baines this summer. Now the Merseyside club wants to make sure they don’t need to repeat the process next January.
After rejecting a variety of United bids for Baines ranging between $19 – 23 million (£12-15m), Everton intend to show their left-back how important he is to the club by offering him a new contract with improved terms.
The 28 year old is believed to earn around $78,000 (£50k) per week in a contract that runs through June 2015. It’s a deal that Everton chairman Bill Kenwright would like to extend in length and value but was prevented from doing so over the summer due to United’s perseverance.
Toffees manager Roberto Martinez echoed Kenwright’s interest in getting deals done for the club’s top players. “When the window is open I think it’s the wrong time to speak about those things and so we hadn’t discussed it,” Martinez told reporters. “But now the window is closed, we are going to look into all the players in the squad and see where their contracts are up to.”
For Baines, a contract in the region of 5-6 years and making him the highest paid player on the squad would seem fitting. Such a deal would reflect Baines’ importance to the club and the club’s appreciation of his willingness to remain at Goodison Park despite turning the heads of giants like United.
There is, however, no guarantee that Baines will pen such a deal. Although unlikely, if Baines were to refuse to accept the improved terms it would be a sharp indicator to United that the January transfer window could provide yet another opportunity to snap him up.