Leighton Baines has been linked all summer long with a move from Everton to Manchester United, for the second year in a row.
Reports on Wednesday claimed he has told Everton he wanted a move, which the club have since denied.
But if the move were to happen, would it not be a tad overwhelming for fans of Manchester United, Everton, and the neutral?
Here is our argument as to why...
Money this late on is little use to Everton
Let's say Everton get in excess of £15 million for selling Leighton Baines. Where will they be able to spend it at such late notice on a quality replacement without risking seriously overpaying. The Toffees can count the money all they like, but it is unlikely to adequately replace one of their star players and best left-back's in the league at this stage.
United need a left-back far less than they did last year
When United were linked with Baines last year, it made far more sense. Patrice Evra had been in wretched form, and their only back-up, Fabio da Silva had been loaned to QPR. Evra re-discovered his form, and has continued impressively this season, while United now have both Fabio and Buttner as back-up options. With Evra such a vocal personality in the squad, replacing him could cause a headache the club simply do not need right now.
The age, and long-term factor
Baines is 28-years-old, four years younger than Patrice Evra. But is he really a long-term solution? If United are looking to move Evra on at 32, then who is to say in four years time they won't be looking to do the same to Baines. Clearly a four year timespan is ample time for him to give back to the club, but United rarely pay big money for players over the age of 27, with Robin van Persie an exception last year. Could United find a younger solution who is more advanced than Buttner and Fabio? Alternatives are out there, and likely cheaper ones if the club decide to take their time and shop around.
David Moyes and a lack of excitement
After a summer where grand names like Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Mesut Ozil and Gareth Bale have all been linked with United, not to mention a possible Cristiano Ronaldo return, wouldn't t be a little underwhelming if their new manager's first big signing was a left-back from his former club? Baines is a respected and quality player, but his signature all seems a bit 'predictable', given the Moyes connection, and after so much time has elapsed this summer, a potential anti-climax for United fans.
Concern over his England prospects
This one can clearly go both ways. Being at United is a positive for would-be England players, a look at Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling's sustained time in the England squad shows this. But Baines has no such worries, as an automatic squad pick. Does he roll the dice, from playing every week and shining at Everton, in the hope that Champions League football can nudge him past Ashley Cole for the World Cup next summer? It could, but the alternative is that he fails to displace a rejuvenated Patrice Evra, and plays less regularly than he would have done at Goodison, handing Cole the initiative. And this for the neutral, looking for healthy competition between the pair, would be another reason to side against such a deal.
Do you want Baines at Manchester United? If so let us know why...
image: © wonker