Transfer news: Everton hoping to fend off Manchester United interest in Leighton Baines with improved long-term contract

Everton furiously rejected United's approaches for the England defender last summer and hope to tie down his future after a breakthrough in negotiations

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The Independent Football

Everton and England defender Leighton Baines could be offered an improved contract in a bid to keep him out of the grasp of Manchester United and former manager David Moyes.

United saw their pursuit of Baines furiously rebuffed last summer after Moyes tried to take the left-back with him to Old Trafford, having completed a £27.5m deal for midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

It is understood that United have not made a fresh approach for Baines since the January window opened, although they remain interested in securing the 22-time capped England international with Patrice Evra set to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Baines himself will have just 12 months to run on his current deal this summer, and that could help United in their bid to land the 29-year-old with the Toffees unlikely to want him to leave the following year for free.

However, they are hopeful that a recent breakthrough in contract negotiations will lead to a new long-term deal being agreed that will keep Baines at Goodison Park for years to come.

Everton officials are also hopeful that young talent Ross Barkely will be another to sign a new contract despite interest coming from both Manchester City and Chelsea. Barkley is currently recovering from a fractured toe that could keep him out for between three and six weeks.

Barkley’s rise to prominence this season has seen him join Baines in Roy Hodgson’s England squad, and he stands a good chance of going to the 2014 World Cup should he return from injury with the same form that saw him become a candidate for the tournament in Brazil.

The Everton squad are currently in Tenerife for warm-weather training; something that Roberto Martinez hopes will aid Barkley’s recovery.

One player that does look to be on his way out of Goodison Park is striker Nikica Jelavic, with the Croatian currently awaiting a work permit before completing a £5.5m move to Premier League rivals Hull City.

The Toffees are willing to let him leave to strengthen his World Cup chances, although Martinez confirmed that a deal will only be competed should they get in a replacement. Reports suggest that Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones is on their radar, as they look to add cover for the on-loan Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone, who is currently sidelined with injury.