Roberto Martinez: Baines and Fellaini chase is unfair
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has questioned whether Manchester United have adopted an aggressive “new way of working” in the transfer market as they pursue Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.
Martinez believes the manner in which United have gone about trying to sign the duo indicates a change of approach to their dealings.
The Premier League champions have yet to make a signing since manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill left their roles at the end of last season. David Moyes left Everton to replace Ferguson after 11 years at Goodison Park, while Gill’s role has been taken by Ed Woodward.
It was Woodward who last week submitted a joint offer of £28 million for midfielder Fellaini and left-back Baines, which Everton dismissed as “derisory and insulting”.
The bid valued Fellaini at £16 million -- just over a fortnight after a £23.5 million release clause in his contract had expired -- and Baines at £12 million, the sum Everton rejected when United made an initial approach in late July.
Martinez said on Thursday that Everton had received no new bids for the pair in the last few days, although United are likely to return with another offer before the transfer window closes on September 2.
The Everton manager told the Guardian: “I have never seen Manchester United working in this manner before.
“When you want a player, you just do the business quietly, you get it done and that’s it. I don’t know if this is a new way of working at United. I don’t expect a new bid. In fact, it wasn’t even a bid because it never reached any sort of valuation of the players.
“There isn’t an offer on the table where anyone would consider anything. If they’d matched the valuation, maybe then you would listen to it -- but that hasn’t been the situation.”
Martinez added that he had spoken to both Fellaini and Baines and was satisfied that neither had been unsettled by United’s bids.
He said: “So far, everyone has been in a great frame of mind. They are focused, they are top professionals, it is their job and, at the end of the day, it is their passion. You can imagine it is not a fair situation for anyone.
“Nobody can guarantee a player will be here on September 3, in the same way you can’t guarantee you’ll have a squad that is fully fit. I think we need to be realistic.
“I don’t want to lose anyone, and financially the club does not have to sell, which is very important.”
But the manager said he was confused by the approach being adopted by United, particularly towards Fellaini. Moyes paid an initial £15 million to sign the Belgium international midfielder from Standard Liege, and the add-ons Everton have paid as part of the deal since then have taken the player’s cost above the £16 million United are now offering.
“If you invest a certain amount in a player and that player is one of the outstanding performers in the league, then I’m sure that price has gone up,” Martinez said. “It is common sense, isn’t it?
“The market brings the valuation. There are aspects to consider, like the age of the player and the length of his contract, but then it is very easy to look at the current price of that type of player in the market. That gives you a valuation.
“I don’t want to sell. But what is clear is if you want to buy a player and he’s been a good performer, you must offer a higher value than what the club invested to get him. That’s common sense.”