Saturday, 30 June 2012

Everton slap £17m price tag on Baines to deter Manchester United

Manchester United's pursuit of Leighton Baines remains in the early stages despite recent speculation that a deal is close to completion.

We understand that the interest from Old Trafford has not yet progressed beyond informal discussions. 

 Should United step up their chase, Everton intend to remain firm in their resolve to hang on to England's deputy left-back. 

 It is understood that the Merseysiders privately value Baines at £17 million, a sum they feel could be beyond what United are willing to pay. 

Sir Alex Ferguson's team have been priced out of moves for Luka Modric, Eden Hazard and Wesley Sneijder in recent times. 

 As reported earlier this month, United fringe players such as Ji-Sung Park and the Da Silva twins Fabio and Rafael have been mentioned as possible sweeteners in a deal for Baines. 

 Nevertheless, Everton manager David Moyes is said to be privately belligerent in his desire to keep hold of the former Wigan man, despite the Toffees' financial problems.

 The 27-year-old was named in the PFA Premier League team of the year following an outstanding 2011-12 campaign and Everton's system is built around his raids from left-back.

 He is also the team's set-piece specialist. Speaking at the end of May, Baines described United's reported interest in him as a big compliment: "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. 

Would it be hard to turn United down? I'm not letting my focus shift to that while I am in camp [with England]. I'm focused on what I'm doing at the moment. 

Would it be hard to leave Everton? Yes, obviously. You know what it means. 

I've been there for five years myself but also know first-hand what it means to a lot of people so, yes, it would be."


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