David Moyes has issued a hands off warning to cross city rivals Liverpool who are reportedly trying to lure Leighton Baines to the opposite side of the park this summer.
The Everton FC manager responded to growing rumours that Kenny Dalglish will make a big-money move for the England left-back, who has arguably been the blues best player this season.
Moyes further insisted he will have the final word on what players, if any, are allowed to leave Goodison this summer – and confirmed Baines is not for sale.
He said: “I can´t see it. It´s not for me that one, and I think they know that as well. Nobody will leave the club unless I say so and give it the go ahead, and that won´t change.
“We have signed him on a five-year deal and I don´t want to sell him. Everton sell very expensively; that´s what we do.
“We don’t sell cheap because that is why he is on a five-year deal and the chairman looks after the players and gives them what he can. So he is not for sale.”
The Toffees side that takes the field at the DW stadium against Wigan today will feature two players with Wigan links in in-form duo Baines and Leon Osman.
England left-back Baines came through the ranks at Athletic before moving on to Goodison while dynamic midfielder Osman was born and has family in the area.
Moyes added: “Leighton has improved no end from when we took him. He was a good player at Wigan and that is what got us looking at him and signing him.
“It took him a while to settle but he has grown into it and got better. Now I think most people think if there was a World Cup this year, Leighton Baines would be a certainty to go.
Todays opposing manager Wigans, Roberto Martinez has also lauded Baines development and spoke of the pride his own club has felt watching Baines become one of the premier leagues best players.
“We have always been very proud of Leighton. He has always been a diamond produced in our ranks.
“It has been a little bit disappointing we haven’t promoted more youngsters since Leighton left.
“When he played for England it was a very proud day for many people at Wigan Athletic and we wish Leighton the very best of luck after Saturday.