Yet with David Moyes reluctant to increase his valuation of the England left-back beyond £12m and he not currently minded to agitate to leave, United may face disappointment.
Fellaini is considered the more likely acquisition but as Moyes is now seemingly aware of the sensitivities of returning to his former club to buy one of their key players, the United manager may wait to see if the 25-year-old decides to force the issue himself.
United had a joint £28m offer angrily rejected by Everton because the sum was considered derisory. Everton had inserted a release clause into Fellaini's contract of £23.5m, recently expired, and United's valuation of £16m meant Moyes did not consider his value had increased despite five years playing in the Premier League and 42 caps for Belgium.
There was further disquiet over the £12m valuation of Baines, 28, because this was the same fee Everton had already rejected earlier this summer.
Roberto Martínez, Moyes's successor, told evertontv: "It's been well-documented what happened with the transfer speculation, that's been dealt with and it was all a little bit of a waste of time – time I don't want the players to waste.
"The situation is very clear. I think as a football club we will always keep our fans informed. When there is something to tell our fans we will do that – they'll be the first ones to know if there are any players coming in or any players going out.
"I don't believe in getting involved in the transfer window when the games are under way and we are in a very, very important moment of our season. We're trying to find our feet, we got a good start under our belts, we've got real competition for places and we've got the visit of West Brom at the weekend."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © nicksarebi