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Baines’ Everton exit rumours resurface

More chatter of a possible MLS switch

Everton FC v Apollon Limassol - UEFA Europa League
Are Everton losing both Baines and Rooney to the MLS?
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

BACKGROUND

Everton are in for a busy transfer window as new Director of Football Marcel Brands looks to trim the bloated, aged squad he has inherited.

Of all the players expected to leave this summer though, veteran left back Leighton Baines is not necessarily one of the first names that come to mind.

The Mirror are reporting that Baines is a target of interest from Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire, just a month after the 33-year-old was linked with the LA Galaxy after being spotted in California on holiday.

PLAYER PROFILE

Baines is one of the longest-tenured players at the Toffees, having been with the Blues since 2007 when he transferred over from Wigan Athletic. Over the last couple of seasons his age has started to really tell, and he missed a number of games this last campaign after picking up an injury.

While there was a time the full back ruled the left touchline and was renowned throughout the Premier League, in recent years Baines has faded and doesn’t remain the same attacking threat any more. His left foot remains as good as always slinging in crosses, but he has taken a step back from taking setpieces which is a shame considering how good he is on freekicks and his penalty accuracy rate remains one of the best in the League.

The veteran has another year on his current deal, having featured 403 times for the Blues with 38 goals and 66 assists in that time. Baines also has 30 England caps, having scored just the once.

EVERTON ANGLE

Everton just went through a horrible season where the left wing was a major problem for the Blues, both in attack and defensively. Baines’ injury only highlighted the major flaw in Steve Walsh & Ronald Koeman’s previous summer business where they failed to acquire a starting calibre left back.

Brands is already taking steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again, with reports that the Blues could be looking at two Bundesliga starters, Marvin Plattenhardt and Wendell. While sentiment calls for Baines to see out his contract at the Blues, new manager Marco Silva could be looking to start his new era at Everton with a new left back.

Undoubtedly the veteran still has a lot to contribute to this squad in terms of leadership, so it will be interesting to see how this gets resolved.