The spectre of a Manchester United swoop for Everton’s prized-pair Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines has loomed over Goodison Park all summer and now it has emerged that the Toffees turned down a ‘derisory and insulting’ double bid of £28m last week. United seem poised to return with a more substantial bid, but Everton’s hard-bargaining recent history suggests that it will have to have improved a great deal to gain traction.
It has become clear that the Red Devils submitted a bid before the start of the season, but it was kept private by the Everton hierarchy for fear it would interrupt the side’s preparation for their first game of the season against Norwich.
Given United had previously had a single bid of £12m for Baines turned down earlier in the transfer window, it would suggest that their initial offer valued central-midfielder Fellaini at around £16m, making it easy to see why the Toffees deemed the offer as insufficient.
After all, the Liverpool club had paid upwards of £15m for the Belgian’s signature when landing him from Standard Liege back in 2008 and to offer only a negligible improvement on that sum would be to suggest that his value had not increased on the back of five Premier League seasons of good performances.
Fellaini – as short as 9/20 to be a Manchester United plater on September the fourth – was Everton’s top goalscorer from midfield last term, whilst Baines’ telepathic left-sided combination with Stephen Pienaar produced 11 goals and as many assists as Everton surpassed all but Wigan in terms of what percentage (42) of their league possession came on the left flank.
The Daily Mail expects United to return with a second double bid of £35m which is closer to an Everton valuation of the pair the paper believes is in the region of £40m.
Everton have earned a reputation for hard bargaining when selling their best players that dates back to David Moyes’ time in charge, selling Jack Rodwell for £12m, Wayne Rooney for £25.6m, Mikel Arteta for £10m and Joleon Lescott for an eye-watering £22m.
With both players arguably more important to the Goodison cause than Lescott was at the time of his departure, United may have to be prepared to pay not just full whack, but potentially over the odds for the Toffees twosome.