Having signed from Wigan back in 2007 for a reported fee of just £6m, Leighton Baines has no doubt etched himself as a club hero at Everton.
The former England international played 420 times for the Toffees in his 13-year spell at the club, before announcing his retirement from football at the end of last season.
Now, The Liverpool Echo claim that Baines’ time at Goodison Park may not be completely over. It’s suggested that “Everton are working through the final details on creating a role for Baines after talks with the former club left-back”, and that “Carlo Ancelotti made it clear the club would do all it could to retain Baines’ services in an off-field role”.
And in a letter to supporters, Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “Marcel and I have been working behind-the-scenes with Leighton over the last few weeks and are excited about how we might be able to continue a relationship with him in future. We’re currently working through some of the final details, which we believe will be great for Leighton and for our football club.”
After hearing about the report, Everton fans took to Twitter to share their reactions.
Hope Leighton Baines stays at Everton in some training role. He loves our club, has commitment. This is what we need. @Everton
— Adrina M Price (@SingingDri) August 21, 2020
Great news, class act
— Pete Owen🏴 (@TheMagical_One) August 21, 2020
All for it. Would be great to keep Leighton at the club in some capacity.
— Peter Papadopoulos (@PeterPapadopo11) August 22, 2020
Best news ever.
— Matthew Lownes (@LownesMatthew) August 21, 2020
Hope this is true 👏🏽
— Dave Shaw (@shawyefc79) August 21, 2020
Bill strikes again jobs for the boys
— SL-EFC (@EfcSl) August 21, 2020
One Everton fan pointed to Baines being a “total professional” and why the Toffees need to keep him around.
Would love to keep him around. Total professional
— Der M.C. (@DerMC9) August 21, 2020
Another Toffees supporter revealed their satisfaction at seeing the club getting their recruitment “right for once”, with the club still yet to make a significant signing in the summer transfer window.
Nice to see us getting some recruitment right for once
— Mark Langshaw (@MarkLangshaw) August 21, 2020
In his time at Goodison Park, Baines was the ultimate professional, and rarely let the side down on or off the pitch.
Giving him a role behind the scenes to make sure an icon like him remains connected to the club in some capacity, seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved.
It’s no surprise that Everton fans are absolutely loving the fact Baines may still be a familiar face at Goodison Park.