There has been intense speculation over recent weeks linking Everton full back Leighton Baines with a move to Old Trafford, with Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly eyeing up the 27-year-old as a long-term replacement for Patrice Evra. However, even though Baines claims that such talk is flattering, he has now said that he is attempting to ignore the reports.
Baines, who travelled with the England squad to Poland and Ukraine, says that he has been aware of the speculation for some time. However, he says that he is putting the reports down to the football silly season, “I’ve been aware of what’s been said in the press but I don’t know much beyond that. It doesn’t do any harm [to be linked] but it doesn’t do any good either. It’s just one of those things that tends to swing around this time of year. People put two and two together sometimes they get four and sometimes they get three or five. It gets other people more excited than those involved.”
While Baines was part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man Euro 2012 squad, he didn’t manage to play a minute of the tournament and was taken as a deputy for Chelsea left back Ashley Cole. However, while Baines may not be first choice for his country, Sir Alex Ferguson is understood to be a keen admirer of the former Wigan defender and sees him as the ideal replacement for the aging Evra.
However, United could have to part with a lot of money to land their man. Baines currently has three years of his contract left to run and it’s thought that Everton are desperate to keep hold of him. In fact, some sources are speculating that SAF may have to part with as much as £15m to prize Baines away from Goodison Park.