Selling Leighton Baines could fund Everton's Champions League push suggests Neville Southall

Left-back has been consistently linked with Manchester United

Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall believes defender Leighton Baines could be the player to be sacrificed in order to fund the club's bid for Champions League football.

Southall thinks the Toffees need three players in January if they are to sustain a top-four challenge.

Midfielder Marouane Fellaini is the player who appears to be attracting most interest from other clubs but Baines has regularly been linked with Manchester United over the last 12 months.

Southall feels it would be easier - and cheaper - to find a solution at left-back but ideally he would not want Baines, one of Everton's most consistent performers over the last few years, to leave.

"I'd like to see them buy three players, at least, or get three players on loan," said the former Wales international, speaking at the launch of The Football Pools 90 Day Community Challenge at St Helens Junior Football Club, who received funding of £50,000 to makeover their club.

"They need a striker for definite, a midfield player who can pass - a more expansive midfield player - and a defender.

"We've got to this position now where, if they get two or three players, they can push on, finish fourth and get the Champions League.

"I don't mind him (Moyes) selling one if he brings two in because that makes sense.

"If you are going to sacrifice anyone, Leighton Baines may be the one to go.

"You've got Phil Neville to fill in (at left-back) and you've got Bryan Oviedo you could get away with there.

"I would hate it but you can't do Fellaini at the moment because it would cost twice as much to replace him.

"But I'd rather they add than take away, because if you're taking away you're saying to the fans 'We don't care, we're just going to sell' and I don't think that is right at all."

Southall has been impressed by his former club's performances this season, which has kept them within two points of third place.

But he believes they cannot afford to stand still and for all their attacking invention he thinks they require more guile to make them genuine top-four contenders.

"They have upped their performances and the reason for that is they have got goalscorers," he added.

"They've kept it tight before because they didn't have that cutting edge but now they have goals all over the pitch.

"I don't think we have anyone with that vision. (Darron) Gibson is not bad to be fair but he's not there every week.

"Maybe by next season he would be ideal but he's picked up a few injuries here or there.

"Jelavic can change a game on his own but I'd like to see someone with a bit of drive and personality.

"I'd like to see them have someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and make an impact. Someone like the character of Andrei Kanchelskis but a midfielder who can drive the team forward, maybe make a few tackles - someone like a Steven Gerrard for Everton.

"They don't seem to have someone who has that drive inside them yet."

PA

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