Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley set to sign new contracts

Tony Marshall

Everton are poised to receive a huge boost in the coming days with the news that both Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley are close to signing new long-term deals with the club.

Rumours of new contracts for the England duo were doing the rounds on Twitter at the start of the week before several news sources picked up on the story on Wednesday.

These reports state that discussions with Baines and his representatives have reached a breakthrough that will see the 29-year-old commit his long-term future to the club.

That should be enough to ward off the attentions of Manchester United, who have again been linked with a move for the left-back after failing with a couple of ‘derisory’ (Everton's words, not mine) offers in the summer.

Given that Baines is set to enter the final year of his current contract at the end of the season this news is timely and should ensure he spends the best years of his career at Goodison.

To make things better for the Toffees it looks likely that Ross Barkley will join Baines in penning a new deal.

The 20-year-old still has two-and-a-half years to run on his present contract but his form this season has seen his profile skyrocket.

He is now seen as one of the country’s brightest talents and Everton are keen to reflect that in his contract in order to warn off any rival bids.

Details are sketchy but it seems likely that the deal will involve a significant hike in wages and see him commit to the club for at least the next four, maybe even five years.

This is, of course, fantastic news for Everton and a ringing endorsement of the impact Martinez has had in his short time at Goodison so far.

It also sends out a real message to opposition clubs eyeing up some of our best players.

Everton have been a bit of a soft touch in recent seasons when it comes to retaining their stars and seemingly every summer a big name needs to be sold to balance the books.

Boss Roberto Martinez has been keen to state that this is no longer the case but that hasn’t stopped the rumours linking Everton’s key performers with moves elsewhere.

With the club right in the mix for a top four place they desperately need a good January transfer window to maintain their charge - something they didn’t have last season to their cost.

That means keeping hold of their best players as well as bringing in reinforcements.

This double contract boost comes less than a week after the capture of Aiden McGeady and if Martinez can sign a top striker to replace Nikica Jelavic it would represent the best winter window Everton have had in years, setting up a thrilling and potentially successful second half of the season.

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