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Pienaar wants Everton to snub United offers for Baines

ESPN staff
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Leighton Baines is highly rated by his team-mate Steven Pienaar © Getty Images
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Steven Pienaar is hopeful that Everton will hold on to left-back Leighton Baines, who has been linked with a summer move to Manchester United.

Pienaar, 30, re-signed for Everton this week for £4.5 million, 18 months after leaving the club for Tottenham, where he struggled for first-team opportunities.

After penning a four-year contract at Goodison Park, the South African midfielder has set his sights on the Toffees retaining their best players, including reported United target Baines.

He said in the Guardian: "It's not up to me. It's up to the club to keep their best players but hopefully he'll stay and so will the rest of the guys. It will be important for the team

"We had a good understanding in the last couple of seasons so, if he stays, it will just make everyone happy as well because we know how important he is to the entire team.

"He can score goals from set pieces and it's not just me who benefits from playing alongside him. He's a vital player for the club - everyone knows it from the manager to the supporters. Let's hope and see if we can hold on to him."

Pienaar added: "Leighton texted me a few weeks ago asking me what was happening with me but I didn't ask him about his future. I know he's had some great seasons at the club and, if he does get the opportunity to move, I think everyone will respect it.

"But for the club it's important to keep your best players and we all want him to stay and he knows it. It's not in our hands, though."

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