Leighton Baines to Manchester United: Breaking Down the Transfer Rumour

Max TowleAnalyst IJuly 5, 2013

David Moyes has wasted little time singling out transfer targets for Manchester United to pursue this summer.

The Scotsman will address the media on Friday, the culmination of his first week in charge at Old Trafford.

Though he will try not to get drawn into discussing the club's activity in the transfer market, it is possible he will highlight areas in the current squad that need strengthening.

If recent media reports are to be believed, Moyes seems keen on replacing Patrice Evra at left-back.

As reported by John Drayton of the Daily Mail, "Manchester United will make a renewed bid of £15 million plus add-ons for Everton defender Leighton Baines."

The sum is a considerable one, and it's certainly unprecedented for the Red Devils to bid so high for a full-back.

This article will break down the transfer rumour and discuss whether signing Leighton Baines should be a priority for manager and club.

History of the Rumour

Leighton Baines has been linked with Manchester United for over a year now.

According to a report by James Jackson in The Guardian in May 2012, the England international commented on reports linking him with Old Trafford, saying: "The United link is flattering. There is no harm in people talking about it because it is a great club."

In November, Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reported that:

United are reviving their interest in England international Baines, a player they spent much of the summer courting.

Ferguson felt Everton’s £15 million valuation of Baines was a price too high, but the Old Trafford club want to re-open negotiations with the Toffees.

When it was revealed that David Moyes was making the switch from Everton to United, many sources claimed Baines would follow.

The Red Devils made a £12 million bid for his services last month, which was promptly rejected by the Toffees, as reported by David Taylor in The Guardian.

That was a week ago, since then, much of the media glare has switched to the club's pursuit of Barcelona attacking midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

But the Baines-to-United rumour seems genuine. It may only be a matter of days before reports of a second bid emerge.

Is He Worth It?

It is clear the Red Devils' valuation of Leighton Baines is in the region of £12-15 million.

It is ironic that Moyes spent much of last summer repelling advances from Manchester United for his star and demanding a high price but is now desperate to secure a cut-price deal.

Even he could not have imagined Everton would accept his opening bid of £12 million.

Baines is certainly a world-class talent, and he's a player who is probably worth £15 million. But is he worth that much to United?

He would be a replacement for Patrice Evra, who surely still has a couple of good seasons left in him.

Evra had a renaissance campaign in 2012/13, even if his lack of defensive awareness was exposed several times.

How would the transfer affect the future of back-ups Alex Buttner and Fabio da Silva?

The club's priority must be on plugging the gaps in central midfield. Thiago may not be enough, a box-to-box player would also be a welcome addition.

Baines will turn 29 this year. He is at his peak now, but in three years will be in the same situation the 32-year-old Evra is in now.

Again, Leighton Baines is a world-class player who may well be worth £15 million to some, but to the Red Devils, I would place his worth closer to £10 million.

What Now?

It is up to David Moyes to up United's preliminary offer, something I am sure he will do.

He is familiar with Baines; he knows his strengths and will be certain he can live up to his billing at Old Trafford.

The Scotsman has cash to burn as well. According to the usually reliable Telegraph, the Scotsman has a transfer kitty of £60 million to play with.

So how about this? He signs Baines, Thiago, Ezequiel Garay and Kevin Strootman all for about £15 million each, coming to a grand total of £60 million?

Moyes will want to stamp his mark on the club in his first season, and if that means players like Evra, Nani and Anderson are casualties, sentimentalism will not be a factor.

If he has his heart set on signing Leighton Baines, new Everton boss Roberto Martinez will likely be powerless to stop him. And why wouldn't Baines want to come?

To me the transfer is inevitable and one we can expect to see ratified in the coming weeks.

Do you think United should sign Baines? How much is he worth to the Red Devils?


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