Everton boss Roberto Martinez has attempted to ward off Manchester United's interest in Leighton Baines by lauding his iconic status at Goodison Park.
The Toffees are understood to have rejected a bid in the region of £12m for the England full back with rumours regarding United's interest having swelled since the appointment of David Moyes to replace to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Baines, 28, is not for sale at any price according to the Merseysiders and Martinez has moved to quell speculation concerning his potential move to United by hailing the defender's profile at Everton.
"I think Leighton is more than a player, he is an icon," Martinez told Evertonfc.com.
"He represents a lot about our football club and I am really, really excited about Leighton.
"This is a big season for him and for us as a club. When you are the left-back of this football club, and the level that he has been reaching over the last few years consistently, it shows me that he is the best left-back in the country. I can't wait to start working with him."
Chairman Bill Kenwright, who has reportedly fielded interest from Arsenal regarding the availability of Maourane Fellaini, has reiterated Martinez's desire to see the club's best players remain at Goodison Park.
"It is difficult for me talking for Roberto but he thinks the squad is fantastic," Kenwright said last week.
"He wants to hold onto it but he also wants to bring in two or three players in the positions were we need them.
"He hasn't met the squad yet. The first step is to get the players back and get to know them and bring in two or three."
Moyes began his tenure at United on Monday and while recruiting new faces ahead of the new season will be among a series of concerns for the Scot, the future of striker Wayne Rooney, who is set for showdown talks over his future upon his return to first-team training, represents the No.1 priority.
United's pre-season tour to Asia and Australia begins on 13 July in Bangkok, and Moyes is likely to want a settled squad going into the summer schedule.