The adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again” is one that those in charge at Manchester United clearly believe in, as reports this weekend suggest that their third attempt to recruit Leighton Baines will finally bear fruit this January.
Everton have so far rejected two approaches from United for their coveted left back, but the Daily Mirror is today reporting that the champions’ persistence will eventually pay off as the Toffees finally make their peace with losing a third prize asset to Old Trafford in under six months.
After David Moyes became the first to make the short trip along the M62 this summer, the man who spent over ten years at Goodison wasted no time in risking the wrath of his former employers by making a combined move for Baines and Marouane Fellaini.
And while the fuzzy-haired Belgian ended up joining his former boss in Manchester, Everton remained resolute over Baines, rebuffing a double swoop in favour of a Fellaini-only deal on the last day of the transfer window.
It came a year after Sir Alex Ferguson made a similar attempt to nab Baines, when Fergie’s £15million bid was deemed too paltry for Bill Kenwright and co to accept.
But now, with Everton having got another year and a half of excellence from the free-scoring full back and new boss Martinez resigned to finding a replacement, the Blues are ready to accept a similar offer.
With Patrice Evra now 32 and soon expected to head back to France to finish his career, Moyes is determined to replace him with Baines, particularly after a botched attempt to sign Fabio Coentrao resulted in red faces all round in the summer.
Given United’s high-profile courtship of the player, Everton officials are also taking into account Baines’ respectful silence on the matter, at no point requesting a transfer or making unsubtle hints in the press.
With his duel with Ashley Cole for England’s left back slot and a World Cup on the horizon, his unwillingness to cause a fuss is particularly notable.
Taking into account the way some of his fellow professionals might have behaved under similar circumstances, the club that signed him from Wigan five years ago are expected to demonstrate their gratitude by finally allowing his dream move to Old Trafford.