Manchester United must be prepared to spend over £20 million if they harbour any serious ambition of securing the signature of Everton full-back Leighton Baines in the January transfer window, it has been claimed.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the Premier League champions will have to double what they had previously offered in the summer months if David Moyes is to guarantee a reunion with his former Goodison Park charge.
Manchester United made clear their desire to sign Baines in the previous transfer window and failed with two bids, of £10 million and £12 million, with these supposedly 'derisory' offers providing extreme irritation for Everton.
The Toffees reluctantly sold Marouane Fellaini, who Manchester United had initially bid for alongside Baines, on transfer deadline day, which further served to strain relations between Moyes and his former club, and will impact on any negotiations for the England international.
With the incumbent left-back Patrice Evra's future at Old Trafford unclear, the acquisition of a player in this position has seemingly been outlined as a priority for Moyes, particularly given that deputy Alexander Buttner does not appear to be up to scratch.
But whether or not Manchester United decide to return for Baines would not yet appear to be certain, given that £20 million represents a sizeable sum for a player who will be 30 next year.
There have been other reports, however, that Moyes has already as good as agreed a deal for the player, that will see him arrive in Manchester in the New Year.