Ancelotti keen to keep Baines for another year

Thursday, 5 March, 2020 51comments  |  Jump to last

Leighton Baines has been given a vote of confidence should he be thinking of extending his playing days with Carlo Ancelotti expressing the desire to offer him a new contract.

The 35-year-old's latest one-year extension expires at the end of this season but, having been forced to play second fiddle to Lucas Digne for long stretches of the season, Baines has been in sparkling form as the Frenchman's deputy in the last two games.

That, combined with his good form in December when he again stepped in for Digne and scored a stunning goal in the League Cup quarter-final against Leicester, has shown the management enough that he is still more than capable of of performing at the top level.

Ancelotti admitted that the decision was up to the player but told

"Our idea, the idea of the club, is, ‘Don't stop playing, stay with us for the next year'. We would like to keep him and are going to talk with him.

“It would be good for us if he can stay. Physically, he has no problem.

“It [Baines remaining beyond this season] depends on what he is thinking and whether he wants to continue.

“I think he wants to continue but it is his decision.”


Reader Comments (51)

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Jim Harrison
1 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:02:51
Not completely convinced on this one. But I suppose we would be looking to sign an understudy for Digne rather than a replacement and maybe hard to find a candidate good enough who is willing to play second fiddle.

I don't know enough about the youth players, is there a decent candidate coming through?

Duncan Adams
2 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:08:55
He hasn't let anyone down this season. Still seems fit. Worth another year. Offers cover and continuity and would allow us to focus in recruiting more urgent areas – centre-mid and right-wing.
Martin Berry
3 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:09:48
Whats the problem with another year?r

poviding Leighton can keep up his fitness and stay injury-free, then he would be ideal cover.

Tony Everan
4 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:20:34
Leighton looks after himself and has performed well for us this season when called upon. Next season, we may have a busier schedule with the Europa League a possibility. He's fit enough and capable so It makes sense to keep him in the squad for another year ready to step in when required.
Pablo Brown
5 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:28:33
Jim Harrison,

The few games Baines has played this season proves he's worthy of a new deal... in fact, I would go as far as to say he's been better than Digne.

Ken Kneale
7 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:52:20
This is justified on ability and character – unlike some previous extensions handed out. I have no problem retaining our classiest left-back since Ray Wilson for one year as cover.
Bill Watson
8 Posted 05/03/2020 at 20:59:55
It's a yes from me!
Bill Gienapp
9 Posted 05/03/2020 at 21:02:15
There's no question he can still contribute on the pitch. The only issue is, if we're looking to trim payroll, do we want to continue paying his wages for a backup? That being said, since we saw fit to cut bait on Antonee Robinson, we'd have to bring in someone else, so the savings would probably be minimal anyway.
Brian Hennessy
10 Posted 05/03/2020 at 21:14:33
And a yes from me, too, Bill!
Tony Hill
11 Posted 05/03/2020 at 21:18:05
Yup and he has an interesting mind and is a strong dressing-room influence.
Robert Tressell
12 Posted 05/03/2020 at 22:06:08
Makes total sense. Allows a limited budget to be spent where it makes most difference. Don't like signing players just to be back-up. Centre-mid and right-wing, that's where it's at.
Alexander Murphy
13 Posted 05/03/2020 at 22:11:35
Leighton could have left; he didn't. For me, that counts loads. Baines has been utter class when we weren't.

Don Carlo knows. If Baines is good enough for Don Carlo, then that's sound. Don Ancelotti will invest intelligently in his 1st team squad, but, within FFP limits.

Keeping Leighton for 12 months is a very clever move, no increased expense to retain an intelligent, quality, trouble-free Evertonian.

Will Baines be first choice? No. Will he be on more money? No. Does he need to "settle in"? No.

Another year of Baines allows more "Everton Stock" to mature.

Two years ago, Calvert-Lewin & Holgate weren't ready, look at how they are progressing now. Other areas need more attention, both as first & second choice. Spend there and spend wisely. Leighton is not a risky choice. Make a condition that he "does his badges", because Baines has the brains.

Robert Tressell
15 Posted 05/03/2020 at 22:46:38
Only just noticed Leighton's initials are the same as the position he plays. LB the quintessential LB. Maybe Colin Firth could have made it up front if Pride & Prejudice hadn't come calling.
Rob Dolby
17 Posted 05/03/2020 at 22:55:25
Quality counts. Baines oozes quality and always has.

Age will always catch up with you. If we don't have an understudy for Digne then I am good with this.

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 05/03/2020 at 23:02:54
Robert #15,

Nice little link here re players' initials and their positions:

Is it possible to create a football team of players whose initials are also their position?

Robert Tressell
19 Posted 05/03/2020 at 23:13:51
Excellent, Brent. Gabor Kiraly in nets is the pick of the bunch alongside Leighton. Born to their roles. I like Lucas Digne, but he's no Leighton Baines. To be fair to Moyes, he certainly assembled a very good back 4.
Brent Stephens
20 Posted 05/03/2020 at 23:18:16
Robert, I see your name and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist always comes to mind!

Do you wear ragged trousers? Or just a bit of a philanthropist?

Colin Malone
21 Posted 05/03/2020 at 23:24:41
Well deserved. Why haven't Baines and Jagielka been given testimonials?
Andy Wilkinson
22 Posted 05/03/2020 at 00:12:49
No brainer. Baines fine cover. Does a solid professional job. More pressing areas for Carlo and Marcel to address. Get rid of the dead wood - yes. But Baines is far from dead wood.
Bob Parrington
23 Posted 06/03/2020 at 05:34:48
Another good Ancelotti decision. Strong-minded player, team player, Everton through and through, still fit and makes up for maybe a reduction in speed with his positional sense. Good to be there when Digne is injured or having a bad run.
Kenny Smith
24 Posted 06/03/2020 at 08:10:44
Fantastic player, fantastic professional and someone the likes of Calvert-Lewin, Davis and Holgate can continue to learn from. Worth every penny
Martin Reppion
26 Posted 06/03/2020 at 08:42:49
On the subject of testimonial games (Colin #21):
In the days when a player needed to buy a business (pubs and sweet shops were favoured) or get a job for which they had no training or experience when their playing days were over the testimonial gave a long serving player a financial boost at the end of his playing career. It was the same with the county cricket benefit year.

These days, when a player needs one 5-year contract with any Premier League or Championship club to have more money than most of us will earn in a lifetime, the idea that they would be destitute without the boost of a pot of money donated by people on normal incomes is ridiculous.

More recently, players have had testimonials and donated the money to a charity. Frankly, if they want to help a charity, they have the means to do that without bringing in funds from other people.

There is the argument that a testimonial is a chance for the supporters to give a send-off to a long-serving player. I get this but, even with some of the best 'club men', and Jagielka and Baines certainly fall into this category, a 'friendly' low-key game may not provide much more or a send-off than an end of season lap of honour.

Robert Tressell
27 Posted 06/03/2020 at 08:52:17
Brent, rest assured my trousers are in excellent condition.
Sam Hoare
28 Posted 06/03/2020 at 09:21:37
Solid player and an obvious fan favourite. We will need to replace him soon but there are other priorities this summer (CM, RM and CB).
Martin Nicholls
29 Posted 06/03/2020 at 09:36:13
Martin Reppion #26 - never mind Baines and Jagielka, Luke Garbutt joined us in 2011 so looks like he'll qualify for a testimonial next year!!
Andy King
31 Posted 06/03/2020 at 09:39:05
I'm more than happy with Baines as cover for next season. Some players in the twilight of their career might ease off in training, which would be a negative influence on younger players. I have no inside knowledge, but I imagine Baines and Coleman to still be thoroughly professional. They've always been ready when called on.

In the never-ending churn of players though, we must still look to the future. Assuming Digne and Baines are our 1st and 2nd choice next season, I'd still like 2 young talents coming through. Having 2 young lads would allow for us to alternate loans between them. One stays as 3rd choice playing in the Under-23s while the other is getting valuable experience in the lower leagues. After a few months they swap positions, always keeping 3 left-backs at Everton and a player getting game time.

I don't know enough about our youth setup to know if we already have them. If not, Baines staying as cover allows us to take a calculated risk. Instead of 㾶million on a ready-made cover (who is there good enough to play and willing enough not to play?), we can look at younger prospects for a fraction of the price.

Only my (obviously quite rambling) thoughts on the situation.

Kevin Prytherch
32 Posted 06/03/2020 at 09:51:21
This time last year, there was uproar amongst many when it might be suggested that Baines and Jagielka might each be given 1-year extensions...

“Not good enough”
“We need to be more ruthless”
“We can't keep giving contracts on sentiment”
“Kenwrights fault – it's his old boys brigade”

What a difference a year and a few decent performances make!!

I hope he starts his coaching badges and starts to work with some of the youngsters. Imagine how much harder a young Evertonian would work to impress Baines.

Goal vs Leicester for goal of the season??

Derek Knox
33 Posted 06/03/2020 at 10:05:33
I must admit Leighton has surprised me a bit this season, in when he has been called upon to stand in he has done a sterling job. It's not that I doubted his ability for one moment; it was just whether he would last the full ninety.

He must be a dedicated trainer as most in their later years tend to taper off a bit in terms of stamina and speed. Comforting to know that, should he re-sign, we have a more than capable deputy.

Still a bit bewildered as to why we let Antonee Robinson go for buttons, but I appreciate we can't keep hold of everyone> At least get a decent fee for him, he was an International too.

Robert @27, then must be Philanthro, or permanently pissed! :-)

Alan J Thompson
34 Posted 06/03/2020 at 10:09:42
It looks like we've started looking at the books to see what we can afford in the next transfer window. A year here, a player there and some cash raised where? Sensible management.
Dale Rose
35 Posted 06/03/2020 at 10:12:16
Quite right.
John Pickles
36 Posted 06/03/2020 at 10:26:42
Martin #30, it feels like 201 though.

Every close season we get back about half a dozen players that I thought left years ago. I think Brands has got the wrong end of the stick with this 'Once an Evertonian…..' thing.

John Zapa
37 Posted 06/03/2020 at 10:40:04
Financially, there are other more urgent positions in the squad that need investment instead of a back-up left-back. Makes full sense to keep him another year.
Francis van Lierop
38 Posted 06/03/2020 at 11:04:58
Makes sense to me.

Okay, he's lost a little pace, but he's still a good player.

And it saves money, which we need for other positions.

Minik Hansen
39 Posted 06/03/2020 at 11:27:29
Ken Kneale #7 spot on, that was what I was looking for to read between the comments. Well said, mate.
Jer Kiernan
40 Posted 06/03/2020 at 13:37:20
A great pro has been a great servant but, more importantly, is pushing Digne for his place, I would say; he had a great game against Man Utd.

He is a level-headed humble, intelligent lad and, most important of all, a Pink Floyd fan, that's enough for me!

We Wish You Were Here so Sign On, You Crazy Diamond at the Dogs of War no matter Wots uh the deal you will make lots of Money in a short Time, and curl Another kick around the Wall against the Animals One of these Days.... Okay, I'd better get back to work here comes the boss* ... beside, I am Lost for words!!

*Not a PF song

Jerome Shields
41 Posted 06/03/2020 at 13:38:17
I was sceptical when Baines was given a 1-year extension on his contract last year. I saw this as a past weakness of Everton, where players were kept on beyond their usefulness.

I did not like the sale of Robinson, a good player, for a low figure, which proved to be a bargain, given the transfer deal that was nearly clinched this Summer for him. Baines has played well, but was injured early in the season and was not available for selection, which was a bit of a dampener.

Ancelotti's approach is increasingly becoming long-term as it becomes apparent that Everton needs a lot of sorting out. Because of previous regime muck-ups, progress is constrained.

Ancelotti is probably biding his time, since the left-back position is covered and there are other priorities.

Matthew Williams
42 Posted 06/03/2020 at 14:03:49
I've always loved Bainsey, but I think it's time we looked around for a perfect replacement in case Digne doesn't improve and at least looks like recapturing last season's form. The lad Gooch from Sunderland looks decent to me (he made his debut at Goodison if memory serves me).
Jay Wood

43 Posted 06/03/2020 at 14:08:39
Carlo's presser today. Starts around the 8 minutes mark.


Seamus out, will look at things in a couple of games.

Digne good to play.

Tosun will be treated back at Finch Farm.

Laughs off FA fine.

Pleased Mason signed a contract extension - 'he is the future of the club. We also need DCL and hope he signs soon. They are talking. It is very close.'

There is a possibility to retain Leighton for next season. 'Fantastic attitude. Good for us on and off the pitch'.

Focus on the now, not summer signings.

Wants to improve our poor record away to top teams.

Spoke glowingly of the club, the facilities, the city. 'I went to the beach on Monday. It was fantastic! The sun is out today, we could go to the beach instead of sitting here!'

Fighting talk on the progress of the team: 'We have a mix of young and more experienced players. We are not yet a top team, but I'm sure we can be. And it won't take long to be a top team.'

All very upbeat.

Kieran Kinsella
44 Posted 06/03/2020 at 14:09:35

I kind of miss the testimonials. Lots of clubs probably skip them because they are in these lucrative summer tournaments. But Everton always seem to throw pre-season together with the same level of planning as me rounding up a few mates for a kick about. Maybe Baines, Garbutt, Charsley, etc could organize something better and raise a few quid for charity.

Jack Convery
45 Posted 06/03/2020 at 15:08:02
As Barry Norman used to say on Film (whatever year it was ) – and why not?
Gavin Johnson
46 Posted 06/03/2020 at 15:36:08
Baines has played very well when he's been called upon this season. In fact, he's exceeded the expectations of many so another year seems like the done thing to do. However, we need to improve our FFP, especially in light of us not getting the 㿀m we would have probably got for Cenk Tosun.

I should imagine Baines will again be offered a big contract, albeit for one season. I'd have preferred to have let Lewis Gibson be his understudy. He's one with a big future and can also play left-back besides being a left-footed centre-back.

Tamhas Woods
47 Posted 06/03/2020 at 15:59:15
He handled Man Utd very well. Why not?
Bill Fairfield
48 Posted 06/03/2020 at 16:33:25
Carlo knows a top pro when he see's one, an absolute great example to the younger players.
Frank Crewe
49 Posted 06/03/2020 at 17:21:47
In Carlo we trust. He sees him in training every day. An example to the younger players of a model professional. If Carlo thinks he's good enough for another year, all we can do is agree.
Phil Smith
50 Posted 06/03/2020 at 17:38:44
The Italians have a different perspective on age and it's no surprise that older players are going there (Young, Ibra etc.). He's slotted in when needed and doesn't look past it. Why not indeed.
Brent Stephens
51 Posted 06/03/2020 at 18:06:21
Calvert-Lewin signs 5-year contract.
John O'Neill
52 Posted 06/03/2020 at 18:21:13
Baines has always been my favourite player, class.
Stan Schofield
53 Posted 06/03/2020 at 18:24:36
Makes sense, Baines is in good nick.

Ken@7: After Wilson, I'd put Baines on a par with Keith Newton.

Colin Malone
54 Posted 06/03/2020 at 19:20:52
Martin @26.

Baines and Jagileka would be well chuffed to have a testimonial. The last one was for Big Dunc in 2015 and I'm certain it's a big loss to Everton in the Community, Alder Hey, Marie Curie and a lot more charities that benefit from these games.

Both players and fans love to participate in giving to the nominated charities. There wouldn't be any problem fitting in such games, in close season.

Brian Wilkinson
55 Posted 07/03/2020 at 21:10:59
You beat me to it, Colin, absolutely no doubt Jagielka and Baines deserve a joint testimonial and a cert they would donate the proceeds to either EitC or some other worthy cause.
Justin Doone
56 Posted 08/03/2020 at 14:05:07
Yes, easy decision. I wish everyone would stay focused on the quality of the squad each season and stop being age-ist.

He's possibly the best 'back up' left back around along with Milner. Reliable and experienced.

It's about the now, rather than loooking 5 years ahead all the time. Youth development is important and can lead to finding a gem every now and then.

But our best youngsters get bought and we have to start again without ever getting the best out of the players or team.

Or.. as in Robinsons case, a recent international, he gets sold off quickly and cheaply and a few months later is wanted by champions league teams for big bucks, doh!

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