By Alan Nixon
Manchester United have opened talks with Everton to sign England left back Leighton Baines in a massive deal.
United supremo David Gill has contacted Goodison chief Bill Kenwright to open the bidding and the Old Trafford club are prepared to pay £12 million for the classy defender.
Kenwright does not want to lose Baines and will ask for more – with £15 million the least the Toffees will accept – but the negotiations are now on.
Baines is waiting on word before heading off with England for Euro 2012 duty. He will not rock the boat and is waiting on the bid being accepted.
The move comes just after United failed to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title and comes as a surprise as Patrice Evra has been a regular for so long.
However Sir Alex Ferguson wants to strengthen in key areas and Baines has proved his quality, starring for David Moyes’s men since he joined them from Wigan.
Baines is under contract but a big offer would give Moyes the financial strength to go and do business of his own – with Tottenham ‘old boy’ Steven Pienaar in his sights.
Moyes managed to use Sylvain Distin in the left back role at the end of the campaign, so he may even have Baines’s replacement on his books.