An encouraging start to the season under their new manager was promptly shifted to the back of Evertonian minds on Monday morning. That was following the news that the Toffees had turned down a £28 million bid from Manchester United for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines a mere day before the start of the Premier League campaign.
Everton subsequently released a statement confirming the offer was ‘rejected out of hand’, before going on to describe the bid as ‘derisory and insulting’.
The words ‘not for sale’ may have been omitted, but the Toffees have made it clear on numerous occasions that they have absolutely no intention of selling either player. The release clause in Marouane Fellaini’s contract expired on July 31st, and Roberto Martinez has already indicated the club will not entertain any offers less than the £23million figure that would have triggered it.
Therefore, it is easy to see why the £28 million offer raised some eyebrows. The bid from United apparently valued Fellaini at £16 million – a figure less than the £17.5million Everton spent to bring the Belgian to Merseyside – and Baines at £12million – the same sum which was immediately rejected when United bid for the England left-back earlier this summer.
So is Fellaini worth £1.5million less than when Everton signed him five years ago? Is £12million enough for one of the game’s best left-backs and statistically, the most creative player in Europe last season? Not a chance.
It seems unlikely that this move was a genuine attempt at trying to sign the duo on the cheap. Manchester United manager David Moyes knows first hand how valuable the duo are to Everton and would have fully expected the Toffees to turn their nose up at the offer.
The bid reeks of a veiled attempt at turning the head of either player – who to their credit, have conducted themselves impeccably despite the ongoing speculation – in the hope they will try and force through a move. Is it perhaps, the last roll of the dice for a manager who is having a torrid first transfer window in his new job? Or is it a shrewd move which could conclude in a cut-price deal for two of the Premier League’s star performers?
Regardless, it is quite the hypocritical ploy by the former Everton boss and one that has angered those of blue allegiance on Merseyside. So much so, that the derogatory nature of the bid may have only strengthened the Toffees resolve to keep their coveted duo.
Not that the club’s resolve was in question, for over the years Everton have built up quite the reputation for wringing every penny out of the opposition when it comes to selling players. That is of course in the main, down to the work of Moyes, who was especially defiant when it came to transfer dealings at Goodison Park. During his tenure, talk of Everton players leaving was met with a steely glare and a proclamation that ‘Everton do not sell players cheap’. Any attempt to unsettle an Everton player would be viewed with considerable disdain.