Everton and England full-back Leighton Baines is being linked with a summer move to Manchester United.
The Everton star is currently away on international duty with the England squad and has stated he is focused on his national team for now.
Leighton Baines has been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League for a few years now.
The ex-Wigan man was a crucial part of Everton’s attacking play last season as he got forward and supported the teams attack.
Baines contributed four goals and numerous assists as Everton finished seventh in the Premier League. His defending has also improved in the last year or so as he has matured.
Leighton Baines is now considered the second best left-back in the Premier League, after England teammate Ashley Cole. Baines is seen as Cole’s successor for the England national team but is just four years younger than the Chelsea man.
He is rather unfortunate to have came along at the same time as Cole, as England have lacked talented left-footed full-backs in the past. Like buses though, none come along for ages and then two come along at once.
It now seems that Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to sign the full-back to provide competition for temporary-captain Patrice Evra. The French full-back didn’t have the best of campaigns last season and Baines is considered the perfect alternative to Evra.
Baines told Sky Sports: “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.
“The focus now is all on the tournament. There’s not much time to let other things seep in. It’s about getting your head on this job for the next six weeks and trying to do the best you can.”
He continued: “Would it be hard to turn United down? I’m not letting my focus shift to that while I am in camp. 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.”
Although Leighton Baines is one of Everton’s key players the Toffees are in need of finances to strengthen their squad. A fee of £15million has been mooted and that sort of money would be hard to turn down for the hard up Toffee’s.
Everton boss David Moyes is unlikely to be able to bring in any new signings without players leaving the club. The Scot really is in a catch 22 situation, sell one of his best players and bring in some fresh faces or stick with the squad of players he already has.
Baines seems to have a strong loyalty to Everton but as we have seen in the past clubs like Manchester united can turn players heads. Wayne Rooney headed to Old Trafford from Merseyside to win trophies. Baines isn’t likely to win any trophies staying at Everton.
As a Everton fan I really wouldn’t want Baines to leave the club but as this story gathers momentum it really does look like Leighton Baines exit is inevitable.
Will Leighton Baines move to Manchester United this summer?