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Baines set to stay at Everton despite LA Galaxy interest

Long-serving Toffees defender reluctant to leave Merseyside

Everton v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Leighton Baines wants to stay at Everton despite reported interest from MLS side LA Galaxy.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Baines, who has one year left on his contract, could be set to fly out to Los Angeles in order to discuss a move to MLS.

However, BBC Sport report that Baines is keen to extend his 11-year stay at Goodison Park. The article was written by former Everton reporter for the Liverpool Echo Greg O’Keeffe so is likely to have some credence.

But Baines may well have little say in the matter should the Toffees hierarchy decide to edge the 33-year-old towards the exit door.

Incoming director of football Marcel Brands intends to reduce the club’s hefty wage bill this summer with the focus being switched towards developing young players.

That could see a number of the club’s senior squad members - and highest earners - leave the club. Baines would certainly fall into that category.

The former England left-back made 29 appearances last season but missed three months in the middle of the campaign with a calf injury.

That left the team limping on with Cuco Martina playing out-of-position, just one of many ugly symptoms stemming from last year’s botched recruitment drive.

Baines’ powers are clearly on the wane so at least one new left-back is needed this summer. But would Baines be happy knowing he was no longer first choice? If so, then a parting of the ways this summer may be the best for all parties.

Or maybe Baines would accept a reduced role within the team and act as mentor to his younger teammate? He is certainly still capable of compete at Premier League level and his vast experience would be invaluable for any young player to learn from.

It’s just one of many quandaries facing Brands and the incoming manager this summer as they look to reshape a bloated, underperforming squad.