Roberto Martinez has told Everton fans he can “guarantee” that Leighton Baines will still be at Goodison Park at the end of the season.
The England international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United for some time, with former Toffees chief David Moyes keen to reunite with his one time star at Old Trafford.
The now Red Devils manager made multiple moves for secure the full-back’s signature during the last transfer window, but saw each of his efforts thwarted by the Merseyside outfit.
A fresh January raid from the Premier League champions has been mooted, with some reports claiming that Baines himself may be open to the switch ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
However, Martinez – who welcomed his star man back from injury over the weekend – says that he will still be wearing the blue shirt at the end of next month:
“In football you don’t work long term, you go window to window and I can guarantee that Leighton will be here at the end of the season, that is 100 per cent.” He told Sky Sports.
“That is how you work from window to window – to have a stronger squad than previously.
“Leighton is vital for us in the second half of the season. Bryan Oviedo has been terrific, but we need Leighton and Bryan fit for us, if we are going to fight for our football dream.”