Everton manager Marco Silva has suggested that veteran full-back Leighton Baines could have his contract at Goodison Park extended beyond the end of this season, as reported by the Daily Star.
Baines has been with the Toffees since 2007, and has made over 400 appearances for the club. Now, at 34 years of age, his time on Merseyside ought to be coming to an end. As per Transfermarkt’s stats, the left-back has made just six Premier League appearances this season, and his current contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign.
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However, Silva has hinted that the club’s vice-captain could be handed new terms before then. The Everton boss said, as quoted by The Daily Star: “I have no doubts Leighton is a big part of our squad, he is a really important part of our squad.
“If he plays 10, 15, 20 games or if he plays five or 10, he is a really important player for me, for our club, an important player for our dressing room also.
“If he is in the last year of the contract of course it is a possibility for him to renew his contract also.”
It could be that Baines’ time at Goodison is set to go on for a while longer yet.
However, to hand the defender a new deal would be a big mistake.
Whilst he has been a fine servant to the club and should be remembered as an Everton legend, Baines is no longer up to the standard required. If the Toffees are serious about pushing for European qualification they must start moving on from such ageing stalwarts with nothing left to offer.
Not to do so would indicate a shocking lack of ambition on the part of the club, suggesting that they’re happy to settle for the ever-diminishing returns that the likes of Baines offer.
The 30-cap former England international showed against Wolves last time out that he’s no longer at the required level, and now is the time for Everton and Silva to recognise that fact and begin looking to the future.