Everton are to begin talks with Leighton Baines to prevent the highly-rated defender from rejoining David Moyes at Manchester United.
The Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright, said that the only thing preventing Moyes from making bids for Baines and Marouane Fellaini was his relationship with his former manager, which he remarked was founded on "long car journeys and a shared interest in 1950s rock and roll". The two still speak regularly.
Fellaini has three years remaining on his contract, one more than Baines. However, the Belgian midfielder's contract contains a £24m release clause should any club playing in the Champions League come in for him. Kenwright said that Fellaini insisted upon the clause when he came to Goodison Park from Standard Liège for £15m five years ago.
"Leighton Baines is under contract and I have told David not to come back in for him, although there is nothing to stop him, just the relationship between me and David," said Kenwright.
"There has been no back-and-forward dialogue with Leighton Baines about a new contract but that will start. He knows we want him to stay. Marouane Fellaini has given every indication that he does not want to go."
Baines has described the newly-appointed Roberto Martinez as a "terrific manager" but he knows that, at 28, his value has never been higher. Last season he created more chances (97) than any player in Europe's top four leagues, while Manchester United's first-choice left-back, Patrice Evra, has been linked with a return to France with either Paris St-Germain or Monaco.
Nevertheless, Kenwright argued that Martinez's appointment could mean both Baines and Fellaini remain at Goodison Park. "A lot of people were waiting to see what was going to happen with the manager," he said. "Roberto Martinez's appointment is a decisive moment. He is looking forward to getting the players together and keeping hold of them."Reuse content