New Everton manager Roberto Martinez has declared that sought-after defender Leighton Baines will be at the club next season - and that he expects the "icon" to play a key role in his first year at the helm of Goodison Park.
Martinez will have to fight off interest from former Blues boss David Moyes, who has already had a £12m bid to take the left-back to Old Trafford rejected, which led to the Premier League champions to increase the offer to £16m.
Everton have made it abundantly clear they have no intention of selling the player and Martinez stated he can't wait to begin working with him next season.
"I think Leighton is more than a player, he is an icon," Martinez told the Everton website.
"He represents a lot about our football club and I am really, really excited about Leighton. This is a big season for him and for us as a club.
"When you are the left-back of this football club, and the level that he has been reaching over the last few years consistently, it shows me that he is the best left-back in the country. I can't wait to start working with him."
The 28-year-old will surely be tempted by a move to join up with Moyes at Manchester United and the Red Devils will look to test Everton's resolve as they continue to increase their offer.
Although, Baines may be excited by the prospect of a fresh challenge with Everton under Martinez, as the manager promised to bring Champions League football to Goodison Park.
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