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LEIGHTON BAINES believes he could become Everton's next big-name departure with Manchester United lining up a £15million bid for the England full-back.
Baines, who was Ashley Cole's understudy in Poland and Ukraine during Euro 2012, is aware of stories linking him with a move to Old Trafford.
The former Wigan player said: "People put two and two together and sometimes they get four, and sometimes they get three or five.
"It gets other people more excited than the people actually involved."
But United's interest is genuine, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson hoping to have 27-year-old Baines on board before the start of the new season.
United know that hard-up Everton would struggle to turn down a decent bid.
Baines added: "Obviously over the years the manager (David Moyes) has lost players here and there who I'm sure he would have liked to have kept.
"Whether that's because the club has needed the money or whether it's because they have received what they consider is a considerable bid.
"The manager has done well in bringing in people at a certain amount. When they have moved on he has tended to double his money or more.
"It has never really hindered us. It's never seen us getting any worse. Maybe it would be nice to see us hang onto these players and add a couple more."
EVERTON hope to sign striker Steven Naismith from Rangers.
LEIGHTON BAINES has returned from Euro 2012 in the dark about his future as Manchester United eye the Everton left-back.
Baines has been strongly linked with a £15million move to Old Trafford, to become the eventual successor to Patrice Evra, 31.
But the Everton star said: "I've been aware of what's been sort of said in the press and what's not.
"I don't know much beyond that to tell you the truth. I can't really say too much about it.
"I've got three years still to go on my contract. I don't think it does anyone any harm to be linked with a club like Manchester United.
"But it doesn't do any good, either. It is just one of those things. It tends to swing around at this time of the year."
Baines, 27 is known to be happy at Goodison Park. But he admitted: "I think there is a problem in that players do have to be sold.
"Obviously, over the years, manager David Moyes has lost players here and there that I am sure he would have liked to keep.
"Whether that was because the club has needed the money or whether it's because they have received what they considered to be a considerable bid for a player, I can't say.
"But the club has always done good business in that sense and the manager has done well in bringing in people at a certain amount and when they have moved on, he has tended to double his money - or more.
"But maybe it would be nice to see us hang on to those players and add a couple."
Baines, meanwhile, sympathised with his England left-back rival Ashley Cole, 31, after he missed a penalty in the shootout defeat against Italy.
He said: "I sympathise - it's a terrible way to lose a game of football.
"You feel for everyone. I'm a penalty taker myself and you know before the kicks are taken that someone is going to be the bad guy."
ADAM JOHNSON will this week discuss his Manchester City future with manager Roberto Mancini.
The winger, 24, is wanted by Liverpool, Everton and Sunderland and there is also interest from Tottenham.
Johnson wants to establish how often Mancini plans to use him in the new season.
He was often employed from the bench last term and failed to make the England squad for the European Championships.
It is thought the fact he was not a regular starter for City counted against him. But it was only last January that Johnson was handed a five-year contract at City on £70,000-a-week.
If City decide to cash in on him after his crunch talks, they would want £15million.
Leighton Baines has admitted that cash-strapped Everton may be forced to sell him to Manchester United.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed in April that Sir Alex Ferguson had targeted the 27-year-old left-back as a replacement for Patrice Evra - and United are expected to step up their bid to land him by tabling a £12million offer this week.
United are also ready to hijack Tottenham's attempt to sign Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho from Porto by making a £30m bid.
But landing Baines will be Ferguson's next piece of business after spending £20m to recruit Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell from Crewe last month.
United were hoping to take advantage of Everton's crippling financial situation by getting the England defender at a knock-down price of £5m.
Everton value Baines at £15m, but will accept less as they look to give manager David Moyes some funds of his own for summer signings.
Baines is happy at Goodison Park after signing for his hometown club in a £6m deal from Wigan five years ago.
But he is aware of both United's interest and Everton's track record in recent years of being forced to cash in on their best players.
Baines said: "I'm aware of what's been said about United, but I don't know much beyond that.
"It can be a problem for Everton given the financial situation at the club.
"Over the years the manager has lost players I am sure he would have liked to have kept hold of.
"Maybe the club has needed the money or maybe they have received a substantial bid for a player.
"The club has always done good business in that sense because the manager has always done a good job bringing players in for a certain amount of money.
"When players have moved on he (Moyes) has always been quite savvy about the way he has gone about his business.
"Losing players hasn't really hindered us because the team never seems to perform worse than it did before.
"Maybe it would have been nice, though, to have hung on to some of the players that have left, added a couple ourselves, and actually improved as a team."
United are also tracking Moutinho following his outstanding performances for Portugal at Euro 2012.
The 25-year-old was being earmarked by Tottenham as a replacement for Luka Modric if the Croatian midfielder moves to Real Madrid.
But Moutinho's head has been turned by the new interest from Old Trafford - and United have been told that they will get their man if a fee can be agreed with Porto.
Moutinho has a £40m buy-out clause in his contract, but a bid of around £30m would persuade Porto to sell.
He was signed for Porto by Andre Villas-Boas two years ago and was expected to follow his former boss to White Hart Lane.
But Ferguson knows he must strengthen his midfield after being forced to bring Paul Scholes back out of retirement last season as great rivals Manchester City took the title.