Roberto Martinez insists that Leighton Baines has not asked to leave Everton -- but has refused to comment on reports that Manchester United have made a fresh bid for both the left-back and Marouane Fellaini.
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United are believed to have made a new combined offer of £38 million for Baines and Fellaini, having had a £28 million bid for the pair rejected last week.
And reports on Wednesday evening suggested that England full-back Baines had told manager Martinez that he wanted to leave for Old Trafford.
Everton moved quickly to deny that Baines had asked to leave, with Martinez insisting that the defender is not pushing for a move.
Sources say that Baines has ambitions to play in the Champions League and is interested in joining United, who are managed by former Everton boss David Moyes.
But the 28-year-old has no intention of trying to force through a transfer and will stay at Goodison Park if Everton do not wish to sanction a deal.
Asked if Baines had requested a move, Martinez said: “No. You are going to get so many stories. The two players [Baines and Fellaini] have been true professionals and that is what I want, players that are dedicated to the club and dedicated to the team.”
Baines was an unused substitute on Wednesday night as Everton came from a goal down to secure a 2-1 extra-time victory over League One side Stevenage in the Capital One Cup, with Fellaini scoring the winner.
The manager, who is preparing his side for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Cardiff, praised the professionalism of both players.
He said: “We’re at the end of the transfer window and we’ll have to cope with those stories.
“All we want to do is focus and concentrate on the games. I was pleased with the manner that we got through yesterday in the Capital One Cup, and now we’re concentrating on the Cardiff game.
“I’m not going to comment on anything regarding the transfer window in terms of coming in or going out. If there’s anything to say, the fans will be the first ones to know. We’ll let them know.”
Martinez admitted that the ongoing uncertainty about the futures of Baines and Fellaini had been “disappointing”.
He said: “I speak with all the players, as you can imagine, and it is disappointing when you get so many stories going round.
“You are questioning where the stories are coming from. But as I say, there is nothing to comment on in those two cases, and we’ll carry on waiting until the window shuts.”
Asked where he thought the stories regarding Baines and Fellaini were coming from, Martinez said: “I don’t know. You need to try to find out. It is getting a little bit too much at the moment. It isn’t just here. It’s up and down the league, in every dressing room.
“You get these sorts of stories and we need to do something. We need to protect the league. We need to protect the players. It’s very unfair for the players.
“We need to be respectful to the fans. We need to try to stop all this transfer window business while games are going on.