MANCHESTER UNITED have been encouraged by Leighton Baines' refusal to rule out a summer switch from Everton.
The Old Trafford side have made Baines one of the transfer priorities and though no talks have been held, Sir Alex Ferguson is set to test the resolve of those at Goodison Park this summer.
United are known to be looking for a long-term replacement for 31-year-old Patrice Evra, who has struggled to reach his usual standards this season and could be set for a move to Italy.
And with Brazilian full-back Fabio Da Silva spending next season on loan at Benfica, Ferguson is in need of ready made replacements.
Speculation linking United with a move for Baines has been in the air for some time but the Everton man only broke his silence at England's London Colney training base this week.
Instead of rubbishing the rumours, the 27-year-old admitted to being flattered by the interest from across the East Lancs by also insists he is happy with life on Merseyside.
Baines, named in the 23-man international squad for the European Championships, insists his focus is the tournament in Poland the Ukraine and nothing else.
United are said to be preparing a £12m bid but such an offer is likely to be given short shrift by the Everton hierarchy who would expect to be receiving at least £3m more if they were to lose one of their prized assets.