Leighton Baines Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of November 25

Matt CheethamCorrespondent INovember 25, 2013

Leighton Baines Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of November 25

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Welcome to the return of Bleacher Report's Transfer Trackers. 

    This version will focus on a name bandied about most gossip columns for the duration of the summer: Everton's Leighton Baines.

    The England left-back was, of course, aggressively courted by Manchester United yet remained in Everton colours as the transfer window slammed shut.

    According to many, including Sam Wallace of The Independent, Baines actually favoured a move to Old Trafford but remained refreshingly professional throughout.

    With January on the horizon, Manchester United have already been predicted to return for the Everton left-back; but can the Toffees fend off their former manager once more?

    Be sure to check back later in the week for any further developments.

     

    —LAST UPDATED FRIDAY NOV 29—

Firm Grip on Baines

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Friday, November 29

    David Moyes was quizzed about his January transfer plans during his regular pre-match press conference.

    When asked about Baines, the former Everton manager seemed dismissive, as Simon Stone of The Manchester Evening News records:

    If they (Everton) are determined to hold on to him then he can't be going anywhere.

    It's unlikely this will prevent further January bids, but these comments perhaps reveal the large gap in valuation between both clubs.

Baines Will Not Be Sold

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Friday, November 29

    Friday's newspapers bring further fallout from Roberto Martinez's recent press conference.

    Everton's stubborn stance on Baines is reiterated in most outlets, including the North Wales Daily Post, who quote the Toffees' manager as saying:

    Has Leighton played his last game for us? I don’t see it that way at all, especially given where we are, not at all.

    Again, Martinez makes all the right noises, but Baines' contractual status surely makes an inflated offer hard to resist.

     

Hands off Baines!

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Thursday, November 28

    Charles Perrin of The Daily Express claims Roberto Martinez has given a firm warning to Manchester United, insisting Leighton Baines will not be moving any time soon.

    Perrin quotes the Toffees' manager as saying:

    We want to have Leighton [Baines] for the long term and that will never change. Tony [Hibbert] is someone we want at the club as long as we can have him.

    We will be linked with many players. We will look at opportunities but now is not the time to talk about these things.

    However, until his signature's on a new contract, Manchester United seem unlikely to be deterred.

Still No Contract Talks with Everton

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Thursday, November 28

    Part of the reason Baines he been so relentlessly pursued is his expiring contract, set to end in the summer of 2015.

    Talks haven't yet resumed about a new deal and, as Carl Markham writes in The Independent, they won't begin on account of his injury.

    Markham quotes Martinez as saying:

    The injury is a setback as you can imagine but we will use it to regenerate him, to give him a bit of a breather as he has been playing week in, week out and has had a lot of big demands on him because he's been playing international football also.

    It is a period we are going to use in our favour but, in terms of his contractual situation, it will never change what our thoughts were and our strategy behind the scenes.

    As positive as Martinez sounds here, no progress on a new deal will only concern supporters.

Baines Played His Final Everton Game?

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Tuesday, November 26

    The prognosis for Baines' injury stretches from 10 days to six weeks, depending on his recovery, as BBC Sport reports.

    This has led some, including Jack Wilson in The Daily Star, to speculate whether Baines has already played his final game for the Toffees.

    Wilson highlights how the left-back's next game could be in January, when Manchester United may have already wrestled him away from Goodison Park.

Baines Sidelined

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Monday, November 25

    What may throw a proverbial spanner in the works of any immediate transfer plan is news that Baines is now injured.

    Everton's No. 3 was prematurely withdrawn during the Merseyside derby against Liverpool and The Liverpool Echo's Greg O’Keeffe revealed the extent of the damage.

    The left-back is hopeful of returning within a four weeks but will miss games against Stoke City, Manchester United – who tried several times to sign the 28-year-old in the summer – Arsenal, Fulham and Swansea City.

    This comes as a substantial blow to the Toffees, with Baines set to miss the busy festive period.

    It will also provide them with an accurate picture of life without their influential left-back.

Baines off for £16 Million?

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Monday, November 25

    To start this Transfer Tracker off, here's a taste of the current buzz surrounding Baines.

    In the middle of November, The Mirror's David McDonnell was among those making bold claims that Baines to Manchester United for £16 million was essentially a done deal.

    This was also written by John Richardson in The Express at the end of October, with £15 million the predicted amount.

    The landscape seemed to change, somewhat, just a few days before Baines' injuryDavid Wright in The Daily Star was among many reporting a £20 million fee would be needed for United to get their man.

    This line was echoed by Peter Spencer in The Manchester Evening News, which seems especially reputable.

    Expect more twists and turns as we head for January.