Manchester United are odds-on to sign Everton full-back Leighton Baines despite seeing an opening bid of around £12 million rejected.
The Reds have been tracking the England international for over a year and had hoped to sign him long before new boss David Moyes was recruited to replace the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Moyes is now expected to step up his efforts to encourage the former Wigan man to follow him from Goodison Park to Old Trafford when he reports for his first official day in charge on Monday.
United had been as long as 7/2 to sign Baines when news of Moyes’ appointment was originally confirmed last month.
However, that price has since tumbled to 3/10 as reports continue to suggest that United will increase their offer for a player they have identified as an immediate successor to Patrice Evra.
Everton are determined to hold on to Baines, but all the indications are that the Toffees would reluctantly consider accepting a bid of around £16 million as the 28-year-old has just two years remaining on his contract.
Baines is believed to be open to a move as it would greatly enhance his chances of dislodging Ashley Cole as England’s left-back for next summer’s World Cup, assuming the Three Lions make it to Brazil.
United certainly appear to have a clear run at Baines if bwin’s market on his next club is to believed, with Chelsea (22/1), Manchester City (22/1), Arsenal (40/1) and Liverpool (100/1) all deemed unlikely to sign him this summer.
Punters who believe Baines will stay put until January at least can find a price of 5/4 on him remaining an Everton player beyond September 3rd.