Leighton Baines emerges as top target for Bayern Munich after German's send scouts to Goodison Park

Leighton Baines has emerged as Bayern Munich's top January transfer target after the German champions went public with their signing plans for the New Year.

After sending scouts to Everton's last two home games, Bayern managing-director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge ended any doubts about the object of their attention by saying: 'We want a left-back, and we mean to sign one in the January window.'

Bayern had been linked with Everton's versatile Holland defender John Heitinga but have since narrowed their search to just one position, in a stance that has left Goodison boss David Moyes bracing himself for a big-money bid in the next few weeks.

Sticky Toffee: Leighton Baines is wanted by German giants Bayern Munich

Sticky Toffee: Leighton Baines is wanted by German giants Bayern Munich

Everton would demand at least double the £5million they paid Wigan for Baines three-and-a-half years ago, but Rummenigge hinted that Bayern were prepared to pay the going rate for the right candidate.

'We need a left-back, because that is the position that has to be strengthened,' he said. 'We are ready to buy a new player for this side of our defence this winter, but he must be of the highest quality.'

International class: Munich have twice sent scouts to watch Everton this season

International class: Munich have twice sent scouts to watch Everton this season

Bayern believe Baines fits the bill after having scouts at the home games against West Brom, a fortnight ago, and Wigan on Saturday, and studying video evidence of an outstanding performance at Chelsea, in between.

Everton are in a position of strength for negotiating a fee, after tieing Baines to a new five-year contract at the end of last season, and are aware that news of Bayern's manoeuvring could spark interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

Chelsea almost lost Ashley Cole to Real Madrid last summer, and the Spanish giants are also considering a move for Patrice Evra, with Manchester United already casting an eye over Benfica's Fabio Coentrao, in case their France left-back is enticed away.

With Everton needing funds to bring in another striker, a Bayern bid of around £10million would prove hard to turn down. Rummenigge's admission suggests it could be imminent, after Bayern bosses were given a glowing account of Baines' productive partnership down the left with Tottenham-bound Steven Pienaar.

The 26-year old's form this season has convinced Moyes that he is a viable alternative to Cole for England and has now persuaded Bayern that he could combine with Franck Ribery to devastating effect on their left flank. 


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