Manchester United are expected to make an improved bid for Everton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines within the next 24 hours, but Roberto Martinez has told the Toffees’ official website it will be a “waste of time.”
United’s initial approach of £28 million for the two players was labelled “derisory and insulting” by Everton on Monday, and Martinez gave talk of an improved £35 million offer short shrift on Tuesday.
It's been well documented what happened with the transfer speculation, that's been dealt with and it was all a little bit of a waste of time—time I don't want the players to waste.
United boss David Moyes is determined to land Fellaini to bolster the strength of his midfield, but his opening gambit of £16 million for the Belgium international seemed odd given that Fellaini had a release clause in his contract until the end of July.
The clause was based on a £23.5 million bid. Nevertheless, the timing of United’s approach in addition to the low fee offered—£1.5 million less than Everton paid Standard Liege for Fellaini—raised question marks from Everton over their transfer methods.
It is now reported by Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail that United will add £7 million to the combined total, clearly feeling they can tempt Everton to part with two of their prized assets before the end of the transfer window.
Martinez would not be drawn on future developments, admitting he would prefer the window to close before the opening day of the season in order to prevent players being the target of unsettling tactics. Per Ladyman:
I think the situation is very clear. I think as a football club we will always keep our fans informed. I'm not a big believer in having the window open while the games are starting. I think the start of the season was important for us at Norwich and I won't come out now and carry on talking about the speculation.
When there is something to tell our fans we will do that—they'll be the first ones to know if there are any players coming in or any players going out.
The outcome of negotiations between the two clubs is likely to come down to two factors: The desire of Fellaini and Baines to force through their exits and Everton’s ability to find replacements within the remaining 12 days of the transfer window.
Ladyman claims the Merseyside club are holding out for £40 million for their two stars, but with £35 million soon to be on the table, the resistance of chairman Bill Kenwright will be tested.
Everton have been linked by the Daily Express with a loan move for Gareth Barry as a potential replacement for Fellaini, although it remains to be seen whether the Manchester City man is ready to leave the Etihad Stadium.