Everton right-back Seamus Coleman has quashed suggestions he could make a dramatic move to Manchester United on the final day of the January transfer window. The Republic of Ireland international has been linked with a switch to Old Trafford but he has moved to calm any fears he could leave Merseyside.
The Sun had reported that Coleman, 28, would be targeted on deadline day by Jose Mourinho who is keen to fill the problem position in the club's back-four. Since Gary Neville's retirement in February 2011 the Old Trafford side have failed to find a long-term replacement, with converted winger Antonio Valencia currently occupying the position.
But any hope United had of bringing Coleman to the club have been quashed by the player, who has committed his future to Everton. The defender is contracted to Goodison Park until 2019 after signing a five-year deal in June 2014 and has blamed the media circus surrounding the transfer window for the rumour.
"It is that time of year," Coleman, who has played 240 times for Everton, told Irish Times of the reports. "I haven't heard about the story (another one in England linking him with United) but I am preparing for a game on Wednesday [against Stoke City] and that is all I am concentrating on."
Despite being five points adrift of United, Everton's recent improvement, which has seen them win their last three games, has given them hope of finishing in the top six – a position which is likely to see them qualify for Europe. Ronald Koeman's side have recovered from winning just two of their opening nine league matches and Coleman says a place in European remains within reach.
"We have been playing well recently," he added. "We got off to a decent start – then it was a tricky spell – when the top six pulled away in that period. We have been left to play catch-up on them. We want to stay in touch. As a player, as a team, you want to look up, rather than down.
"The top six are difficult to compete with, because of the money they have, the number of talented players within their squads, but we have to try and hold onto their tails. We are five points off. We have to believe."