Manchester United blew away the competition last season as it won the EPL with 89 points, which was 11 points clear of second-place Manchester City. The Red Devils are always looking to get better, though, and acquiring left-back Leighton Baines from Everton would help immensely in that regard.
Baines has been a rumored Manchester United target for quite some time, but the Red Devils figure to be met with some resistance. According to Mirror Football, Everton is prepared to make Baines the team's highest-paid player to ensure that he doesn't leave The Toffees.
While Baines is certainly deserving of that distinction and would surely appreciate the raise, there has to be some desire within him to win. Everton had a respectable EPL season as it finished sixth, but with manager David Moyes leaving Goodison Park to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Baines may have even more interest in Manchester United.
Baines excelled in six seasons under Moyes as he played stellar defense and netted 22 goals in 246 appearances, which is nothing to sneeze at for a defender. He would provide an instant boost to Manchester United's back line and would give it a fantastic amount of depth as well.
Although the Red Devils still have a revitalized Patrice Evra in place, he is 32 years old and won't last forever. If push comes to shove, Moyes can make some moves defensively in order to ensure that the best four defenders are on the field regularly.
According to David Anderson of Mirror Football, however, Everton is willing to pay Baines £65,000 per week in order to stay. He has two years remaining on a deal that pays him £44,000 per week, so Everton clearly isn't messing around when it comes to keeping one of its most important players.
Money is rarely an option for Manchester United, though, which means that the Red Devils would likely be more than willing to match Everton's offer as well. In the end, it may come down to comfort level for Baines. He has played at Everton for the past several years, but the fact that Moyes is now the boss at Manchester United changes things.
Baines already knows that he can be productive in Moyes' system, and he would obviously have far more talent around him at Manchester United. The security blanket known as goalkeeper Tim Howard would no longer be present, but David De Gea is an excellent netminder in his own right and should be able to cover the few miscues that Baines might make.
New Everton manager Roberto Martinez fully realizes how important Baines is to his success at Goodison Park, though. According to Anderson, Martinez wants to reward the players who have thrived at Everton and believes that Baines is very much a part of that select group of players.
It's very important and it's a case of rewarding players, who have been phenomenal for the football club. I think Leighton is in that category.
For Leighton, as the top performer he has been in the last few years, it is important that we reward his work and make sure that he can look forward to kicking on to the next chapter of his career with Everton.
Baines has a tough decision on his hands, but if Manchester United matches Everton's offer, then it will probably be a bit easier. The 28-year-old Baines has room to grow, but it's possible that he has reached his ceiling with Everton.
Manchester United has a lot to offer—and the Red Devils need to make sure that Baines is cognizant of that when he ultimately makes his choice.
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