Manchester United step up interest in Everton full-back Baines

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey ¦ Chief Correspondent

Manchester United are ready to offer Everton up to two players on loan in order to capture Leighton Baines this summer, Goal.com has learned.

Fringe players Ji-Sung Park and the Da Silva twins Fabio and Rafael have been mentioned as possible sweeteners in a deal for the England left-back.

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Goal.com understands that United’s interest in Baines is strong as they pursue a long-term successor for Patrice Evra, who turned 31 last month.

Everton have nominally placed a £20 million price tag on Baines, who will deputise for Ashley Cole at left-back for England at Euro 2012.

But United are confident that around £12-15m could be enough to secure the signing of the man who was named in the PFA Premier League team of the year and believe they could twist the arm of the cash-strapped Merseysiders if the sum is supplemented by the offer of at least one of United squad members on loan.

It is understood that informal discussions have centred on the identity of the players, with Park, who has become surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, and the 21-year-old Da Silva twins among the name mentioned.

Everton will push for two players on season-long loans, rather than one, although manager David Moyes’ priority is likely to be a direct replacement for the 27-year-old.

The Da Silva twins can play in both full-back positions although Fabio is regarded as the more comfortable of the pair at left-back. He has been told he will go out on loan in the 2012-13 season by Sir Alex Ferguson, and has been earmarked for a switch to Benfica.

Fabio has failed to progress as expected at Old Trafford, partly because of a succession of niggling injuries, and Sir Alex has spoken of the youngster's need for regular first-team football.

Speaking last week, Baines described United’s reported interest in him as a big compliment: “The United link is flattering. There is no harm in people talking about it because it is a great club. But I'm at a great club as well, a club that I love.

"Would it be hard to turn United down? I'm not letting my focus shift to that while I am in camp. I'm focused on what I'm doing at the moment. Would it be hard to leave Everton? Yes, obviously. You know what it means.

“I've been there for five years myself but also know first-hand what it means to a lot of people so, yes, it would be.”

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