Roberto Martinez has confirmed his desire to reward the ‘irreplaceable’ Leighton Baines with a new contract.
Such is the level that the 28-year-old has reached during six years at Goodison Park, Everton received and subsequently rejected bids from Manchester United for his services in the summer.
And speaking to the media on Friday morning, Blues boss Martinez stated his plan to retain Baines at the Club for the long-term.
He explained: “What’s important is to show Leighton how much we want him and how much we appreciate him. Sometimes you need to do it with actions, not just words. That’s going to be the case.
“It’s about looking for that football happiness and I guarantee to everyone that Leighton will enjoy his football and his role at the club.
“We need to make sure he understands that he is a vital part of the football club and the team and sometimes that needs to be rewarded from a contractual point of view, and we will do that.”
Baines is currently on international duty with the Three Lions, having forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans as they chase qualification for Brazil.
His stature on the world stage may have only elevated over recent years, but Martinez is fully aware the importance of the Blues’ number three holds at Everton, comparing his contribution to that of some of the Club’s biggest legends.
“Leighton is a vital player for us,” he continued.
“We couldn’t replace a player like him. There was a lot of talk and speculation [in the summer] but no one met his valuation so in that case he remains with us.
“Now we need to make sure that he understands how important he is for the football club and he needs to get that reward from our point of view.
“We need to make sure we are ready for the competition ahead with one of the most influential players in the history of Everton.
“We are in a position where unless a club meets a player’s valuation, there will never be a decision made. That was the case with Leighton.”
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