Leighton Baines
Manchester United have opened talks with Everton for Leighton Baines

Manchester United have opened talks with Everton for wing-back Leighton Baines, according to the Daily Mirror.

The report says that United chief executive David Gill has contacted Toffees chief Bill Kenwright to finalise a deal for the 27-year-old.

Baines has emerged as one of the most sought after talents in the Premier League in recent years and Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson is understood to be an admirer of the former Wigan Athletic man.

However, the move comes as a slight surprise since United vice-captain Patrice Evra has been regular starter and consistent performer at left-back.

Baines is under contract at Goodison Park but a substantial offer would give Everton manager David Moyes the financial muscle to do some business of his own at the cash-strapped Merseyside outfit, though it means he has to let go of his most valuable asset.

The England international, who is famous for his lethal free-kick, has made 33 league appearances for the Toffees this season, netting four times. He is part of England's 23-man squad for the summer's European championships and was also in last season's PFA Team of the Year.

Meanwhile, former United skipper Roy Keane has stated Gary Neville could be a good link between the new England manger Roy Hodgson and the players but also claims his former teammate will not be calling the shots. Neville will be part of Hodgson's coaching staff for Euro 2012 and Keane said the 37 year old was not that big an influence in the Old Trafford dressing room.

"It's important you are yourself. Gary can talk but don't think for one minute he was as influential in the dressing room as people might think he was. Gary would say his piece but he wasn't running the show. Far from it," the Guardian quoted Keane as saying.

"So don't think for one minute he will be going into England and calling the shots. He will be learning his trade and being a link between the manager and the players, and I think he will be good at that," the former Sunderland boss added.

England face France on 11 June in the first match of Group D. Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine are the other two teams in the group.