Important that Toffees keep hold of star defender

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Everton left-back Leighton Baines says the club will not be distracted by talk of Phil Jagielka leaving the club this summer, and are concentrating on preparing to take on Tottenham in their season opener on August 13.

While David Moyes has admitted that Everton may not make many moves in this transfer window this summer, speculation has grown around star defender Jagielka making a big money exit from the club.

Jagielka has been particularly connected with a move to Arsenal, with the Gunners admitting that a bid has been turned down in their pursuit of the 28-year-old.

But Baines insists that talk of a move will not unsettle the Everton squad as they aim to beat their trend of poor starts to the season.

"Personally I don't really follow it," Baines said of the transfer rumours. "But it’s not a surprise to me that a top club would want somebody like Phil. He is fantastic and one of the top three of four defenders the country has got.


“We as players would like to hold on to him if we can. We just have to pay not too much attention to it and not get involved with it, we just have to keep on doing our jobs.

“It’s not unsettling, really," he continued. "In some respects, we are a club that doesn’t get a lot of speculation. I’m sure there are other clubs that have a lot more going on in the rumour mill."

Baines says that Everton have learnt from their mistake two years ago, in being distracted by transfer talk surrounding Joleon Lescott, who eventually made the move to Manchester City for £22 million.

"I thought it was a bit of an excuse that we used," the England international added. "Joleon wasn't a bad egg or anything like that.

"It was probably the clubs actually who dragged it out to get the best deal for themselves. But we used it as an excuse at the time - some of us.

"We've spoken about it [starting the season poorly] a lot, but we've just got to do it and stop talking about it. It has been an issue.

"But it's down to us to hit the nail on the head this time. We have to do something about it."

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Phil Jagielka
Leighton Baines

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