The Old Trafford boss is trying to sign the talented Everton duo, but how much would it have taken for him to have the let the pair go?
As the transfer window heads towards its final frenetic days, one of the potential deals that will be watched with real interest is Manchester United’s attempts to sign Everton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.
The Premier League champions had a joint offer of £28 million for the pair rejected by the Goodison Park outfit, with the Merseysiders labeling the offer "insulting and derisory".
David Moyes made his thoughts clear on the pair’s future on Friday, stating that he felt Everton should allow the players to leave to progress their respective careers.
“I know that if I'd been Everton manager and Sir Alex [Ferguson] had come asking for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, I'd have found it very difficult to keep them because I always felt the right thing to do was what was right for the players," the Scot said.
“I signed every player at Everton, so I know a lot about them. They are a great club and they are both excellent players.”
Moyes’ statement that he would have had difficulty in keeping the pair this time last year is true. There is no doubt that Everton are a selling club due to their well-known financial restrictions, and the allure of playing with the Premier League champions would appeal to any of the Goodison Park squad.
With United fighting for titles and competing in the Champions League, Fellaini and Baines would be hard pushed to reject a chance to move to Old Trafford in favour of staying at Everton, and would never be chastised for making such a decision.
What Moyes avoids in his press conference however was the transfer fee that United have offered. £28 million for the pair in this market is a real undervaluation in just about everyone’s eyes, and for the players’ former manager not to think so is a travesty. Everton are a selling club, but they are not ready to be manhandled by their former manager.
In the Scot’s time in the Goodison Park hotseat, Moyes was renowned for getting the best possible price for players that he reluctantly let leave the club. When Manchester City came knocking and wanted Joleon Lescott, Moyes bartered the financially plush suitors up to £22 million for the defender. They came back for Jack Rodwell three years later and paid £15million.
Are Lescott and Rodwell better players than Baines and Fellaini? Absolutely not, but their collective transfer fee was £9 million more than what was offered for the current Everton duo.
Moyes also managed to get £25.6 million for an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney, who at that time had only scored 15 Premier League goals. He also stung Arsenal to the sum of £10 million for a 29-year-old Mikel Arteta.
The point here is, yes, Everton are a selling club and their players are available to the likes of Manchester United - but only at the right price. If the Premier League champions really want Fellaini and Baines this summer they will get the pair, but certainly not for £28 million.
It is time for Moyes to be on the receiving end of the Everton frugality that he practiced so well over nine years at Goodison Park.
image: © Jason Gulledge