Manchester United will have to increase significantly their opening offer for Leighton Baines if David Moyes is to take Everton's outstanding player with him in his new job as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.
Although Everton's official stance is that Baines is not for sale at any price, a bid in the region of £15m would tempt the Merseyside club to do business for a player of 28 who is about to enter the final two years of his contract. United's approach is in the region of £12m in a move that immediately places questions over Patrice Evra's future at Old Trafford.
Ideally, Moyes would also like to raid Everton for Marouane Fellaini but he is aware of the politics of targeting his former club for two key players, especially when he is not even officially installed as United's new manager until Monday. Of the two players, Baines is considered the priority. Yet United, already in advanced negotiations to lure Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona and hoping to strike a deal for the Spaniard by the end of next week, will continue to monitor Fellaini's position.
In the meantime Edward Woodward, United's new chief executive, must consider how far the Premier League champions are willing to go financially to reunite Moyes with Baines. United expected Everton to resist their opening offer, as is the norm in transfer negotiations, and are likely to return with an improved offer.
As for Baines's thinking, the player came close to joining United last summer, as a target of Ferguson, and would relish the move to Manchester despite stating publicly that he is looking forward to working with the new Everton manager, Roberto Martínez.
As well as playing in the Champions League and securing a considerable pay rise, the move could be significant for Baines as he aims to convince the England manager, Roy Hodgson, that he can take over from Ashley Cole in a World Cup year. At Everton, not playing in Europe or competing regularly for trophies is held against him when it comes to England's left-back position.
Baines has a strong emotional attachment to Everton but the attractions of Old Trafford are obvious and Everton are aware of this.
Evra will have to analyse his own situation now it is clear Moyes wants to bring in a new player in the same position, but the truth is United have been toying with the idea of replacing the Frenchman for some time. The feeling at Old Trafford is that Evra has many qualities and is a valued member of the dressing room but that he has been increasingly vulnerable over the past two seasons and is likely, at the age of 32, to regress further in the next couple of seasons.
Evra, seven years a United player, has been linked with a return to his former club Monaco but there would be no shortage of buyers for a player of his expertise, available for a reduced fee because of his age.
Moyes has two other left-backs to think about now Fabio da Silva has returned from a difficult season on loan at Queens Park Rangers to join Alexander Buttner as Evra's understudies. Then there is the small matter of trying to resolve Wayne Rooney's position, the new manager's first Old Trafford press conference on Friday week and finalising his backroom staff in a summer of change.
René Meulensteen, previously United's first-team coach, has just followed the assistant manager Mike Phelan, the goalkeeping coach Eric Steele and the chief scout Martin Ferguson out of the club, with Moyes bringing over his coaching staff from Everton as well as creating a possible position for Phil Neville.
United have previously operated a policy under the Glazer regime of not spending large sums of money on any player aged 26 or over because of the lack of resale value. However, that rule has gradually been relaxed over the last couple of seasons and Baines, Everton's player of the year, was always likely to be a target considering his emergence at Goodison Park.