Roberto Martinez is set to ask his Everton board to offer Leighton Baines a new contract.
It is a significant triumph for the Goodison Park club that they have been able to retain the services of the England international, who is regarded by many as the best left fullback in the country. He was courted by Manchester United for much of the summer, with former Toffees manager David Moyes tabling two offers which were both dismissed on Merseyside.
Now the window is shut Martinez knows he can rely on the services of Baines for the remainder of the calendar year, although speculation suggests the Old Trafford club may return with a new bid when the window reopens in the New Year. And the Spaniard is set to stave off this interest by urging his board to hand the 29-year-old a new and improve contract.
“When the window is open I think it’s the wrong time to speak about those things and so we hadn’t discussed it,” Martinez said. “But, now the window is closed, we are going to look into all the players in the squad and see where their contracts are up to. Then, individually, we will look to address that. It would just have created more instability if we had done that while the window was open.”
Baines was praised for his attitude during what could have been an unsettling summer for him, with United willing to offer him the chance of UEFA Champions League football. Although some sources suggested he had met with Everton officials to inform them that he would like to follow Moyes to Manchester, he refused to force the issue by handing in a transfer request.
The former Wigan Athletic defender, who cost a fee in the region of £5million in 2007, is under contract at Goodison Park until the summer of 2015. Martinez hopes his board will make the player an offer which could see him see out the rest of his playing days at the club.