According to reports at the weekend, Tottenham Hotspur will make a move for Leighton Baines when the transfer window reopens in January.
The 28-year-old is fast earning a reputation as the best left fullback in the Premier League, even ahead of Chelsea star and England international rival Ashley Cole. Baines has been in superb form for Everton once again in the early stages of the season, never more so than at West Ham United when his free-kick double secured a 3-2 win last month.
David Moyes spent much of the summer trying to lure his former Goodison Park charge to Manchester United, yet the Toffees rejected his two bids and insisted the defender was not for sale at any price. Since then there has been talk of a new contract for the former Wigan Athletic ace, yet the Sunday People claim that these have been placed on hold.
According to the same tabloid, Andre Villas-Boas has now made Baines a target for his Tottenham side. The Portuguese is widely thought to be in the market for a top-class left back, despite the early-season promise shown by England Under-21 international Danny Rose. Although the White Hart Lane outfit spent heavily during the summer, they also received a world record £95million from Real Madrid for the sale of Gareth Bale, so they should still have cash to spend when the window reopens in January.
Having fought so hard to stave off the interest of United in the summer, it would be something of a surprise if Everton were to now allow Baines to leave in mid-season, particularly to a side they more than likely consider to be a top-four rival. And if they did indicate they were prepared to listen to offers for his signature, Villas-Boas would almost certainly face competition from Moyes for the player.
A more likely outcome would be that Baines, who is under contract until 2015, will agree fresh terms to extend his stay on Merseyside. Although it was suggested he was interested in moving to Old Trafford ahead of the current campaign, he never once forced the issue due to the loyalty he feels owes his boyhood club, and it is unlikely this position will have changes due to the promising start made under Roberto Martinez.