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Everton confirm Leighton Baines deal

Everton have given the fans the perfect pre-Merseyside derby boost by announcing that Leighton Baines has signed a new four-year contract with the club.

Jan Kruger

The deal finally puts to bed speculation that the left-back would join Manchester United, something the media became increasingly obsessed with last summer.

It is believed the 29-year-old asked to talk to the Red Devils during the 2013 transfer window, but when Everton said he wasn't for sale, Baines got his head down and carried on with his job.

Many footballers would have kicked off and pushed for a move, gone on strike or refused to play because their 'head wasn't right'.

But Baines is a true professional and maintained his wonderful form despite his apparent disappointment at not being able to move to Old Trafford.

In hindsight he is probably breathing a huge sigh of relief given the crisis currently engulfing Manchester United at present, combined with the fine start to the season Everton have made.

That has obviously played a key role in discussions over a new deal, with Roberto Martinez labelling Baines anEverton 'icon'.

The new deal will tie Baines down for his best years and sends out a real statement of intent - Everton will no longer be bullied by rival sides who want to pick off our best players.

It also shows that Everton is an attractive place to be and one where Baines feels he can fulfil his ambitions.

Speaking at his pre-derby press conference, Martinez had this to say about the new deal:

"It would be an understatement to say we are delighted to secure the best footballing years of Leighton Baines at our club.

"It's a massive boost and exciting for the future. Leighton has just turned 29 and brings the right measure of maturity and football knowledge in a very specialised position on the pitch, bringing an infectious and positive influence to the rest of the squad.

"I know that every fan will be delighted with the news and we all share that excitement looking at what's left of this campaign and beyond. With the crucial games we have ahead, it is going to be vitally important to have Leighton's experience there to help us fight for our aims."

What do you think of the deal? Who is next? Have you say below.