by James Robson
Sir Alex Ferguson will hope Leighton Baines’ desire to stay in the Premier League will see Manchester United win the race to sign the England left back.
Ferguson has made the 27-year-old one of his top targets this summer, but refuses to meet Everton’s £20m valuation.
United will try to negotiate a price closer to £15m – but interest from Napoli could play right into David Moyes’ hands if he decides to cash in on the player.
The Everton manager is understood not to be under any pressure to sell his stars this summer.
But he knows that he will have to generate funds if he wants to strengthen his squad.
Baines and midfielder Marouane Fellaini are his most bankable assets and could generate in the region of £40m if both are allowed to leave.
Ferguson wants Baines to provide genuine competition for Patrice Evra at left back as he looks to make key additions to the side that missed out on the Premier League title on goal difference last season.
He has already completed the signing of midfielder Shinji Kagawa and is also targeting Luka Modric, Robert Lewandowski and Baines.
But he has made it clear that he will not be held to ransom over any of the players he wants to bring to Old Trafford, including Baines.
That could be tested if Napoli step up their interest in the former Wigan player, who cost £6m when he moved to Goodison Park in 2007.
Should the Serie A side table a serious offer for Baines the Ferguson will have to hope the chance to stay in the Premier League and challenge for major honours is a more attractive proposition.
But it could also see Everton manage to drive his price closer to their valuation.
United’s hopes of landing Baines appear to have been boosted by Moyes’ interest in Wolves left back Stephen Ward.
The Everton boss is believed to be weighing up a move for the Republic of Ireland international, which would pave the way for Baines’ departure.
United are also hoping to tie up the £4m signing of Crewe midfielder Nick Powell as Ferguson continues to inject youth into his squad.
Would you like to see Baines at United and how much is he worth? Have your say.