Everton have warned Manchester United to stay away from their England international defender, Leighton Baines.
Baines has long been on the Red Devils’ transfer radar, and now that former Toffees boss David Moyes is in charge at Old Trafford, United are thought to be mulling over a bid for the man with mutton chop sideburns.
But Toffees chairman, Bill Kenwright, insists that Baines is not for sale, and says that the club actually plans to offer him a contract extension.
"Leighton is under contract and I've told David not to come back for him, although there is nothing to stop him," said Kenwright.
"Most of our players, if not all of them, are under good, long contracts at the moment. [We have not spoken to] Leighton about a new contract but that will start. He knows we want him to stay.”
Marouane Fellaini is another Everton player strongly linked with a move to Manchester, and the Belgian international midfielder has a £24 million release clause in his contract.
If a team in the Champions League triggers the release clause, Everton will be powerless to stop Fellaini from leaving. But Kenwright remains optimistic that they player will remain Goodison Park following the exciting appointment of Roberto Martinez to replace Moyes.
"Marouane has given every indication he doesn't want to go,” Kenwright said.
“I think people were looking to see what was going to happen with the manager – the players have all been asking me – and Roberto's appointment is a decisive moment for a lot of people. Roberto is looking forward to getting all the players together and keeping hold of them. He rates them all."
Meanwhile, Martinez is already deep in thought regarding the make-up of his backroom staff.
He is considering ways in which to include the Everton men he beat to the manager’s job- David Weir, Alan Stubbs and Phil Neville- in his coaching staff.
"I need to speak to everyone at Everton," said Martinez.
"There are a few positions I need to decide. I would love to have Evertonians on the management team, it's very important. They need to set the values of the club.”