Everton manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that the Merseysiders had no interest in signing West Ham United left-back Patrice Evra and is preparing to welcome Leighton Baines back to his first-team set-up
Evra, released by Ligue 1 outfit Marseille for kicking a supporter in the head in November, joined the Irons on a free transfer this week and could make his debut for David Moyes' side against Watford on Saturday (10 April).
According to Sky Sports, Evra was also of interest to Everton, who are currently having to deploy much-maligned right-back Cuco Martina as a makeshift left-back while Baines bids to recover from a calf problem that has seen him miss two-and-a-half months of action.
But Allardyce, who will hope to see his side return to winning ways against his former club Crystal Palace this weekend after being mauled by Arsenal last Saturday (3 February), insisted that the Merseysiders were not interested in signing the 36-year-old and are prepared to wait for Baines to make a full recovery, though he did reaffirm the fact that Everton tried in vain to bring in an alternative to the 33-year-old in January.
"No because we got Leighton Baines coming back very shortly," Allardyce said in his press conference, per the club's official website. "Leighton's of similar experience to Patrice, who is a bit older. Leighton will be back shortly, we tried to sign a left-back throughout January but were unable to do so."
Baines was initially scheduled to return to action in January but a recurrence of the calf issue in training has prolonged his spell on the sidelines. The Everton stalwart has not yet returned to first-team training but is making good progress, according to Allardyce, who expects the former England international to be available for selection by the end of the month.
Allardyce also revealed that goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is closing in on a return from a hernia problem and expressed his delight at the thinned out nature of the injured contingent at Finch Farm.
"[The injury situation is] pretty good, the best since I've been here," Allardyce said. "Stekelenburg's nearly joining in training. Leighton's not on the field yet but he's running and we expect by the time we play Watford [24 February] he'll be clear of the injury. James [McCarthy] is recovering from his broken leg but it's nice to say there's less than a handful of players out injured."