Football

Manchester United told £16m "icon" is not Old Trafford bound

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Everton boss Roberto Martinez has made it clear to Manchester United that he has no intention of letting Leighton Baines leave Goodison Park either this month or in the summer, as the Toffees close in on securing the left-back's long-term future.

United manager David Moyes had a summer approach for Baines turned down by his former club last summer, with the Scot eventually returning to complete a deadline-day swoop for Marouane Fellaini.

Baines has so far stayed loyal to Everton despite persistent speculation over a switch to Old Trafford, as the England international approaches the final year of his current deal on the blue half of Merseyside.

Martinez is adamant that he will rebuff any approach for the £16m-rated full-back and has lauded Baines as an "icon" at Goodison, but stopped short of confirming reports that contract talks between the two parties have reached a successful conclusion.

Following tonight's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns the Spaniard told Sky Sports: "You know how important he is for us. He is in the best moment of his career and has got a real maturity which allows him to think on the pitch and make good decisions.

"He's not just a player, but a real icon of our football club, so clearly we want him to stay as long as we can.

"There is nothing to announce at the moment, but the way he's playing, he's looking to try to progress and develop.

"He is a player that you can imagine everyone at the football club would love to see him enjoying his football here for a longer period."

The 29-year-old made his 16th appearance of the season for Everton in the Midlands last night, putting in another solid display despite persistent rumours that United are monitoring the progress of his contract talks closely.

Moyes has a series of difficult decisions to make this summer and left-back is a position of particular contention, with Patrice Evra's deal up at the end of the campaign and Southampton starlet Luke Shaw lined up as another potential long-term replacement.

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Topics:
Everton
Leighton Baines
Premier League
Manchester United
Football

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