Baines is of course familiar to United manager David Moyes from his time at Goodison Park and had been muted as a possible United target long before Moyes was chosen to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Sun reported earlier this month that Everton manager Roberto Martinez was keen for the club to offer Baines a new, more lucrative deal in an attempt to retain his services.
The chairman is very keen to express that and obviously I’m desperately looking forward to meeting the players.
For Leighton, as the top performer he has been in the last few years, it is important that we reward his work and make sure that he can look forward to kicking on and go into the next chapter of his career with Everton. That’s important for the club as a whole, not just the dressing room.”
Despite news of United's bid, Baines appeared to suggest he will stay with Everton next season in an interview published on Wednesday by the Daily Mail, in which he struck an excited tone about Martinez's appointment.
"By the time we kick the first ball of the season we will be well-versed on what he wants to do," Baines said.
Whether an official bid from United will prove a temptation too great remains to be seen, but it appears Baines and Everton have a big decision to make over the next few days. They stand to lose a key player at both ends of the field, but must also weigh up his current contract situation and whether the player himself wants to leave.
Whoscored stats show Baines was second to only Manchester City's David Silva for key passes in the Premier League last season. He produced five assists for Everton in the league and, as per The Times report, was responsible for laying on 116 chances overall—a high across Europe.
As for United, Moyes may well feel he needs a successor to Patrice Evra and a second left-back with more experience than Alex Buttner. If he got Baines for £12 million, it would represent an absolute steal.