David Moyes is facing the same treatment he dished out when Everton manager, as his former club responded to a £12m Manchester United bid for Leighton Baines by flatly declaring he is not for sale.
Everton will offer the 28-year-old a contract extension next week and are likely to demand considerably more than £15m to allow Moyes to take Baines from Goodison Park. Moyes will have been aware of how his former chairman Bill Kenwright has responded to low bids in the past and is likely to have encouraged United to make a respectable offer for Baines now. But Kenwright sold 27-year-old Joleon Lescott to Manchester City for £24m in 2009 and with Everton considering Baines to be the best left back in the country they are unlikely to begin negotiating at much less than £20m. Baines has two years left on his current deal.
New Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who begins work at the club tomorrow, will hope that the offer of a much advertised new deal for Baines will help. The United bid is clearly not something Baines was told by Moyes to prepare for. He discussed earlier this week how he was looking forward to operating under Martinez's “progressive” style and is not the type of individual to make such pronouncements in the knowledge that he might leave.
Baines is unlikely to push as hard for a move as did Lescott, who effectively refused to play before signing for Mark Hughes at City, in a move which affected the start of Everton's 2009/10 campaign and infuriated Moyes. But there can be little doubt that he would covet deeply the chance to play for United under his former manager and he may need to push to get his move. Having received six years of excellent service from him, Everton may feel they cannot keep Baines against his will. Even if Everton and United are apart on the transfer fee, the dynamic would be very different from the one which saw Lescott leave for City.
A move for Baines also raises questions about the future of Patrice Evra, who had been on Paris Saint Germain's radar last winter and has been linked to Monaco this summer.
Baines, who has been capped 17 times by England and played 229 games for Everton, was always a strong possible target after Moyes' recruitment by United to the manager's job which he starts officially on Monday. Moyes said after his appointment: “I have given indications to Bill about one or two things but I haven't said anything that would worry him right now.” Kenwright said of Baines earlier this month: “I've told David not to come back for him.”