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Where will Everton’s Leighton Baines be playing come August?

We are only just approaching the end of May, but once again there are rumours aplenty linking Everton players with exits from Goodison Park this Summer.

At a special Q&A evening for Season Ticket holders last month, chief executive Robert Elstone was refreshingly honest in his admission that we would have to ‘sell to buy’ this Summer. We are led to believe that David Moyes will meet Bill Kenwright this week to discuss the our intentions in the upcoming transfer window. With our budget one can assume that it will a short meeting.
One rumour that persists in most of the newspapers is the one linking Leighton Baines to FA Cup winners Manchester City. There has, reportedly, been interest from a number of other clubs, namely Arsenal and Tottenham, but it is unlikely that these clubs would be willing to match a bid the size of the £25 million one that Manchester City are said to be preparing. It is also thought that Baines would prefer to stay in the North-West of the country.
It was only last Summer that City spent £26 million on a pair of left-backs, with the signings of Aleksandar Kolarov and Jerome Boateng from Lazio and Hamburg respectively. Kolarov has been solid throughout his debut season in England and, like Baines, is a potent attacking threat. However, Boateng is said to be unhappy at being second in the pecking order and at times he has even been overlooked in favour of Joleon Lescott, who was, of course, the individual at the centre of a monumental transfer tussle between Everton and City during the Summer of 2009.
Here’s my views on the Baines transfer possibility. I DO NOT want Leighton Baines to leave the club. Undoubtedly our player of the season, he has been our saviour at times in an extremely tough campaign. There are so many highlights from his individual season; the free kicks at White Hart Lane and in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge, his performance against Chelsea in the league match at Stamford Bridge which single-handedly salvaged us a point, not forgetting his FA Cup goal at Glanford Park that has made the shortlist for goal of the season.
I really hope that Baines stays at the club. If I were to place a bet on where he would playing come September, I would say Goodison Park. He is a boyhood blue, is in the form of his life and enjoying his football.
However, we must face the facts, and there are reasons why he may want out. He is 26 years old and may feel that he needs to move to make he most out of his prime footballing years. Due to whatever reason (money, money and more money), City are much more likely than us to win a major trophy. They would provide a stage for Baines to compete on a level that he is capable of playing at, a level that he will not be able to play at with Everton for the foreseeable future at least.
He will be able to test himself in the Champions League against the best players in the world, the ultimate aim in club football. On the international stage he is currently on the fringes of the England squad, but it is a sad fact of life that he would be first-choice ahead of Ashley Cole if he played for a ‘bigger club’.
Again, I state that I would love him to stay, but I recognise he may have good reason to leave. So, if the worst came to the worst, what would happen?
Moyes needs to confront the dilemma now. He needs to talk with Baines and his agent, discuss the possible moves. He should try to convince him to stay and if a more lucrative contract is needed to do that then so be it. If, however, Baines has decided he wants to move on, get the deal done quickly. We need time to replace him, to use the money to strengthen other areas of our squad, and to prepare for life without him. When Lescott left in 2009 he did so in the very last week of the window, leaving little time for us to adjust. It left us unsettled and badly prepared and I have no doubt that this was a major factor behind our disastrous start to that season.
If we do decide to sell, Moyes needs to get a deal that will appease the fans and, at the same time, benefit the club.
If I were the Moyesiah, and IF Baines wanted to leave, I would sell him for £15 million + Jerome Boateng. The City left-back is a good defender of international class and if Baines arrived at Eastlands he (Boateng) would be relegated to being the third choice left-back there. At a Baines-less Everton he would be first-choice. He may not carry the attacking threat of Baines but he is a more than able replacement.
What’s more, this could provide us with about £15 million to improve other areas of the squad. I reckon we could sign Landon Donovan on a permanent deal for £10 million – surely he would love another stab at the best league in the world? The remaining millions would be given to Moyes to work his magic – to find a signing in the mould of the Cahill and Arteta signings. As per usual at this time in the footballing calendar we have been linked with a number of players and £5 million could secure someone such as Espanyol winger Jose Callejon, who we are said to have been tracking.
I repeat again, I want Baines to stay. But if he wants to leave, tell him to pack his bags straight-away. Get in a replacement left-back and use the rest of the money wisely.
No player is bigger than Everton Football Club.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Gary O'Flynn

    24 May, 2011 at 23:50

    I think you will find that Baines supported Liverpool as a youngster

  2. Mike Tupper

    25 May, 2011 at 00:51

    A good post and one with which I would tend to agree. Baines has been fantastic for us but I doubt that we could turn down an offer worth in the region of £20-£25m for him. Unless I’ve missed something you appear to have forgotten Wayne Bridge in this equation.

    There has been a rumour of £20m plus Bridge doing the rounds. Most of these type of rumours have little or no foundation and are merely random chaff tossed up to seek a reaction. There is one site that repeatedly links us with players on the continent who are valued at around £12m to £15m. Their writers are clearly totally out of touch!

    If we are offered this kind of money for Baines and a similar amount for Rodwell I can see both departing – to obvious uproar of countless toffee fans.

    Add to that equation Yakubu, Yobo, Vaughan and with any luck Anichebe (at best a Championship player)and we could be looking at proceeds of sales of £45m to £50m. Add Billy and Heitinga to that equation and you might be staring at £55m plus.

    If that came about I doubt that Moyes would be given the lot to spend and suspect that £20m will go towards reducing the clubs debts. More outcry of course though an essential requirement if we are to rebuild and if we are ever to attract new owners.

    No way will we shell out £10m for Donavon. I loved his time with us but he’s way too old to be worth that kind of money to us. Moyes will look to buy younger players with potential who are relatively inexpensive and will have a potential resale value to the club. Lescott, Baines and Jags were all young and relatively cheap and all developed into first class footballers at Everton. We don’t buy established players in their prime as we can’t compete with richer clubs on transfer values or wages. I have no problem with this approach and would go so far as to say that the last thing we want is to rock our fantastic team spirit by the acquisition of a player of huge self obsessed ego.

    We need 2 left backs if Baines leaves – we were lucky that he was injury fee this season as there’s no real cover in that position. We also need two right backs as Hibbert and Neville are getting on a bit. Moyes would go for a centre back who can double as a full back. Jonny could fit the bill if he’s here next season that is.

    We need some pace injected into the side in mdfield and we need a striker. Saha is also getting on and one more serious injury might well see his playing days curtailed. Beckford seems at this stage a decent squad player but there are times when a team such as ours needs a striker with the skill and strength to hold the ball up up front and I doubt that he will ever fulfill that role succesfully. Anichebe is the worst footballer I have ever seen don an Everton shirt in 45 yeras of supporting them. It wouldn’t be so depressing if he didn’t frequently display such horribly petulant behaviour on the pitch. I would be delighted to see him leave but fear that the fates will continue to taunt me with this one for a while yet.

    There will no doubt be new players coming through the ranks. Barkley is highly rated and Vellios and Silva may develop. Anyone know how Garbutt is coming along?

    Who knows what we might do if we can be in the top 10 after 10 games next season !

    COYB !!!!!!!!!

  3. Connjam

    25 May, 2011 at 07:28

    I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Baines will stay an Everton player and despite the speculation which seems to be about whoever is currently on form at Everton, remember arteta, remember jagielka, remember rodwell, remember fellaini, now distin too – I have every faith in baines not wanting a move and every faith that moyes will not want to lose a player responsible for around 16 goals last season.

    The most saleable asset at the club representing minimal impact on the team is rodwell. He’s never been a consistent starter and be it injury or lack of form has never imposed himself on games in the way we all hoped. I do think jack will realise his potential but unfortunately it won’t be at Everton. I think moyes will sacrifice rodwell, with all our blessing along with all of the fringe players in Yobo, Yakubu, Vaughan and Bilyaletdinov to gain the funds he needs as these are all players that have made zero impact in the first team and will not be missed in terms of personnel. The gaps in the squad can easily be filled by back up players that have just won the academy league and senior cup being promoted to first team duties.

    Yes Everton have money issues and need to sell to buy but I thunk you need to look past the end of your nose for the answers.

  4. Blue

    25 May, 2011 at 07:40

    I loved Donovan, but he’s no was spring chicken when he played for us and we’re a year down the line now. I’d still take him but £10million of our very scarce funds sounds a bit steep.

  5. leon

    25 May, 2011 at 08:45

    @Gary O’Flynn…. actually he has always been an everton supporter as are the rest of his family, as he has said on numerous occasions.
    unlike gerrard carragher fowler rush mcmannaman etc etc etc who supported everton but played for liverpool,proving that real scousers support everton, whereas liverpool fans are from anywhere but liverpool in most cases. even bill shankly and souness said this is the case!

  6. Gary O'Flynn

    25 May, 2011 at 12:13

    @Leon I am sure you can provide links to when Baines has said on numerous occasions that he has always been a Everton supporter. ;-0

    Back when Baines was playing for Wigan he gave a interview to FourFourTwo magazine, one of the questions was Who did you support as a boy his answer “As a boy I supported…
    Liverpool. As a local lad I used to watch from the Kop when Robbie Fowler was making his name”

    You can find the full interview here http://fourfourtwo.com/interviews/boysabitspecial/334/article.aspx

    Hope that clears that up Leon ;-0

  7. Mike Tupper

    25 May, 2011 at 13:43

    Connjam. Seems to me we are in agreement about things. I am not for one moment suggesting that I’d be happy to see Baines go – merely that at the type of price mooted in the original article, plus a player, I don’t think we could resist.

    I compltely agree with your comments on Rodwell. Whilst he is technically capable I remain unconvinced about his overall game and his preparedness to impose himself in the way that, for example, Jack Wilshere does. I think he’d develop under the United wing and as long as we got a good price for him I’d be ok with it. I think it would be a huge mistake for him to go to City.

  8. joeHughes

    25 May, 2011 at 19:53

    I personally dont think there will be as much transfer activity as we would like, Yobo deal might only raise 1.5 I hear and Leicester are talking about 3 other strikers than Yakubu. Vaughan should go and I have a feelin that Fellainie may go ahead of Rodwell. Personally I would like to see us try and get 5 – 6 mill back for Bily if anyone in Russia is willing.

    With regards to replacements I can see us going for the freebees where possible ie Bothroyd, Larsson, Vaughan, St Ledger and hopefully a couple of loan deals possibly Sturrifge, Wellbeck, Vossen and a couple of relatively cheaper buys Billy Jones, Dan, Gago

    personally if we sell 4/5 and raise 30/35 mill and put 10 to the debt and bring in 2 10 mill players and the odd freebee and a loan deal then we should improve the squad considerably

  9. blueview

    25 May, 2011 at 21:58

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I stand corrected on Baines’ boyhood loyalties, I don’t know why but I thought he was a Blue.

    On the Donovan issue, I agree that £10m may be a bit steep – perhaps another loan deal?

    And I agree with Mike Tupper, we should cash in on Anichebe, Yakubu, Vaughan, Yobo, perhaps even Bilyaletdinov or Rodwell before thinking about selling Baines. The policy of buying unproven player on the cheap has worked in th past. Also, with Rodwell, we have Fellaini in that position – who I believe will be an improtant player for us for years to come.

  10. Franz ameno

    5 June, 2011 at 02:32

    It’s sad to know that some clubs have to sell their best players to solve money issues. but, that’s how football works today. nowadays only the richest clubs win tournaments..

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