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Manchester United Transfer Rumors: Leighton Baines Is Right Player, Wrong Price

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Leighton Baines of Everton in action with Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on May 13, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2012

Manchester United is not misguided in their pursuit of Everton's Leighton Baines, but their offering price is entirely too high. Baines is too old, and lacks the skill, to command the money being thrown his way. 

According to Dennis Henry of the Sports World Report, the Red Devils are prepared to pay a handsome fee. "United are ready to bid £15 million ($23.5 million) for the 27-year-old according to reports in the British press. Everton, however, value their defender at £20 million ($31 million)."

That's an awful lot of money for a 27-year-old defender.

He isn't much of an upgrade over United's current defensive institution Patrice Evra. He actually could be worse. Ask any Red Devil fan how bad Evra was last season.

Baines should command about half of this offering. Manchester United must avoid overpaying for a player simply because they lost their first priority elsewhere (Jordi Alba). The Red Devils have enough talent to get by without Baines, and they shouldn't spend money just for the sake of spending. 

Ideally, the Red Devils manage to upgrade with a younger player. That player wouldn't command as much money, and he would still be an upgrade over Evra on the left side. 

If Manchester United is set to throw this money at Baines, keeping Evra may be a better idea.

Both are, or at least should be, short-term options.

If no younger left-backs strike the Red Devils' fancy right now, they are better off letting Evra play for another season. Rather than overpaying for a marginal upgrade, they should take a wait-and-see approach. 

United faithful are disgruntled with the 31-year-old Evra, but spending an unrealistic amount of money on Baines wouldn't help. He fills the right position, but the asking price is way off the mark.

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