After manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed yesterday that the club were still interesting in signing more players over the transfer window, United are now set to offer around £12 million for Baines.
Manchester United are ready to make a move for Leighton Baines but have set a £12 million limit on signing the Everton defender.
Capturing Baines remains a priority for Sir Alex Ferguson as he looks to secure a long-term successor the 31-year-old Patrice Evra. The interest from Old Trafford has not yet progressed beyond informal discussions, but United are ready to step up their chase and could even make their first formal offer for the left-back next week.
However, the 19-times league champions are not willing to pay more than £12 million for a player that Everton value at £17 million, and have decided to limit their salary package to £80,000 per-week.
Everton are ready to offer Baines an improved contract to keep hold of a player who manager David Moyes regards as vital to his plans.
Baines would be a huge addition to the Red Devils squad for the upcoming English Premier League season—providing stability and assurance in defense that, at times last season, was found wanting. The 27-year-old would also offer United another option in set-piece situations.
The English international was named in the Professional Footballer's Association Premier League Team of the Year last season following his strong season for the Toffees, who are desperate to keep hold of their star player.
However, as Baines himself hinted at earlier in the summer transfer window, the club's current financial crisis could force them into selling him to any club should they receive a decent offer. Whether or not they would accept the £12 million that United are rumored to be considering still remains to be seen.
Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to view Baines a long-term replacement to current defender and vice-captain Patrice Evra and understands the need to consolidate his squad at left-back—as reported by the Daily Mirror:
"Left-back is an area which we're paying attention to.
"Patrice [Evra] in the last five years has played an average of 45 to 50 games—it's phenomenal. I don't know if anyone else has achieved that. He's still a fit lad and has the same drive and ambition—he's a fighter.
"Fabio [da Silva] went to Queens Park Rangers, which was important for the boy because he has enormous ability, but he needs to play. Because Evra, touch wood, is never injured, the opportunities haven't been there for him.
"With Fabio at QPR, we're just a little short in that department."
Manchester United had the displeasure of watching Manchester City lift high the English Premier League trophy and know that had they put in a better defensive effort late in the season, they would have been the ones celebrating on the final day.
Whilst the return of Nemanja Vidic from injury will be a huge inclusion for the Red Devils, the addition of Leighton Baines would be an even bigger move for Sir Alex Ferguson's men. They would be stronger in defense, deeper in depth and better equipped to take up the title fight to their Premier League rivals.
For me, Leighton Baines is a must-sign for Manchester United, should they convince Everton to let go of the defender this summer.
Will Leighton Baines make a move to Old Trafford this summer?
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