Everton

Analysing the Impact of Leighton Baines' New Contract with Everton

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Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

After several months of speculation and a transfer chase headed up by former manager David Moyes, Everton left-back Leighton Baines has committed his future to the club by signing a new contract.

With the Toffees having rejected an approach by Manchester United in the summer, it was expected that the Red Devils would return with another offer this month, with Baines having just 18 months left on his old deal.

Manager Roberto Martinez had only spoken a few days ago, via Sky Sports, on how he hoped Baines would sign:

You know how important he is for us. He is in the best moment of his career and has got a real maturity which allows him to think on the pitch and make good decisions. He's not just a player, but a real icon of our football club, so clearly we want him to stay as long as we can.

It will therefore be seen as a big positive for the club that they've managed to retain the England international, who has signed a four-year contract, as per BBC Sport. However, there are certainly a number of positive and negative ramifications which can be concluded from the deal.

 

Positive Sounds out of Goodison

First and foremost, securing the future of a first-team player who is arguably the biggest name at Everton these days is a massive plus point for the Merseyside club.

In seasons gone by—as recently as this summer, even—such players would have departed, with the money reinvested in lesser signings, repayments or other areas of the club. Marouane Fellaini provided an example of this in summer, but he is by no means the only player to depart Goodison Park over the last decade.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  David Moyes the manager of Everton congratulates Marouane Fellaini as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park on April 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo b
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Baines staying is a signal to his team-mates, to interested onlookers, to potential new signings and to the fans that the team is set for continual improvement, that it can match the ambitions of the best players and that taking money isn't the be-all and end-all when sales could be made.

 

Sound Economics?

Great news on the pitch it might be, but Everton have had to weigh up the fact that Baines' value to them is greater than the possibility of spending £20 million-plus on new signings.

The simple truth is, they will never get such a big offer for the left-back again. That's not to say he won't play as well in the future as he did last year, but Baines will turn 30 later this year—the inevitable starting point for a drop in market value.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 5: New Everton manager Roberto Martinez (R) and Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright laugh during the Everton FC press conference at Goodison Park on June 5, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

A four-year deal means he will remain at the club until he is aged 33, presumably on a hefty wage rise in this latest contract. Will he still be offering the same on-pitch value at that point?

For clubs who don't necessarily rely on player sales but certainly take advantage of them, the time to sell Baines was this past summer. Two years remaining on his deal, a sky-high market value and approaching his 29th birthday—that was his peak value.

His contract might be extended now, securing Everton's financial position if they choose to cash in on him in future, but the asking price would be almost certainly halved within 12 to 18 months.

 

Martinez's Team-Building

Setting aside the questions of whether he would have liked to reinvest money in the team, Roberto Martinez has essentially seen his back four transform into one of the best in the league—at both ends of the pitch, given Baines' and Seamus Coleman's attacking abilities.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30:  Leighton Baines of Everton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on September 30, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Sylvain Distin will presumably have to be replaced at some point, but otherwise, keeping that back four (with Phil Jagielka as the other member) intact allows Martinez to focus on improving the attacking side of the team and their all-round cohesion.

He's done a good job so far in blending the grit and difficult-to-beat facets of recent Everton teams with his own brand of possession and high-energy football.

With Baines set to play a big part in the club's continued regeneration, Martinez will believe he has now proven he can attract and keep quality players happy at Everton as he attempts to break into the top four.

 

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