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Everton are increasingly confident Leighton Baines will commit his future to them by signing a new contract that will see him spend the rest of his career at Goodison Park.

Talks on a new deal have been quietly ongoing since the summer when Everton repeatedly rebuffed bids from Manchester United for the England left-back.Baines has just under 18 months remaining on his contract, but manager Roberto Martinez is hopeful he will finalise an extension in the coming weeks.

In another positive development, Martinez is also hoping Ross Barkley will be sidelined for nearer two weeks than six after it was confirmed the attacking midfielder has fractured his toe.

A long-term agreement would see Baines, who turned 29 last month, effectively spend the remainder of his top-flight career at the Merseyside club, who have caught the eye in the first half of the season and are currently fifth in the Premier League.

It would also represent another tangible reward for the work Martinez has overseen since succeeding David Moyes at Everton and the upward trajectory the club is on.

United’s interest in Baines, which dragged on throughout the summer and damaged relations between Moyes and his former club, saw an initial bid of £9million tabled in July before that offer was increased to in excess of £15m as the transfer prepared to slam shut in August.Baines has always indicated a desire to play at the highest level and it would serve to underline his belief in the direction Everton are heading if talks reach a positive conclusion shortly.

He is already one of the best paid players at the club, but is in line for a lucrative increase in recognition of his loyalty and also his striking performances.

Martinez described Baines as an Everton “icon” and the full-back was seen acknowledging the Goodison Park crowd during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Norwich when he was at his rampaging best.

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