Leighton Baines could receive a new contract as reward for his loyalty to Everton over Manchester United pursuit
United wanted England star to hand in transfer request to force a move to Old Trafford but 28-year-old was still at Goodison Park when the transfer window closed
Roberto Martinez has admitted that Everton will now look to tie down their key players to new contracts following the closure of the summer transfer window, which saw midfielder Marouane Fellaini leave the club in a £27.5m deal to Manchester United.
Crucially though, the Toffees held on to defender Leighton Baines, with the England international being one of their standout players in recent years.
United were hopeful Baines would hand in a transfer request to try and force through a move in a similar fashion to Fellaini, but the left-back did no such thing and it is believed Martinez is willing to reward his loyalty by making him the highest earner at the club.
Reports that a contract worth £75,000-a-week will be offered to Baines have emerged, with Everton confirming that the renewal is on their agenda, but Martinez was reluctant to enter talks while there was still a question over the 28-year-olds future.
“From having interest to a situation where you have to consider a move is very, very different,” said Martinez.
“Leighton is a very special footballer and a special player for Everton. We are looking forward to him enjoying the challenge that lies ahead.
“Now the window is closed, we are going to look into all of the players in the squad and see where their contracts are up to. It would have created more instability if we had done that while the window was open.”
Belgian midfielder Fellaini had been linked with a move to Old Trafford to follow his former boss David Moyes after he took the reins at United, but it wasn’t until the final day of the transfer window that the deal eventually went through.
Fellaini had to hand in an official transfer request to try and force through the move, which according to conflicting reports cost him between £750,000 to £4m in loyalty bonuses, but his move represents a fantastic bit of business from the Merseyside club.
United could have signed Fellaini earlier in the summer when he had a release clause of £23.5m, but it expired on July 31 meaning Everton now had control of his future. Had the Premier League champions bid for Fellaini before that date, they could have saved themselves the £4m extra they eventually paid, while Fellaini would have held on to his bonuses as well – money that can now got owards new contracts at Goodison Park.
Speaking about the 25-year-old’s move to United, Martinez said: “There were a lot of wrong stories and a lot of talk. The truth is that the valuation was matched. Marouane was allowed to move on in his career. We are happy to wish him well.”
Fellaini made a last minute move to Manchester United alongside former boss David Moyes
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