Everton have made a dramatic u-turn in their decision to offer Leighton Baines a new contract at Goodison Park to encourage further interest from Manchester United.
The England international spurned two offers from the Premier League champions during the summer transfer window, instead preferring to remain on Merseyside where he has built a reputation as one of the best full-backs in the top flight.
Baines was picked out for praise by manager Roberto Martinez after refusing to force a move out of Everton in the summer - in stark contrast to former team-mate Marouane Fellaini who handed in a transfer request before joining United on deadline day.
Martinez stated after the transfer window closed that negotiations would start regarding the extension of Baines' contract, which is due to expire in the summer of 2015, amid reports United would make a third attempt to lure the 27 year old to Old Trafford.
But Martinez says plans to discuss new deals with players whose contracts are up for renewal including Leon Osman, have been shelved as the Toffees instead concentrate on their domestic form, which saw Baines inspire Everton to a 3-2 win over West Ham United with a free-kick double last weekend.
"At the moment, all it is the games and any individual contracts or situations are put aside," said Martinez.
"The only thing that concerns me is just to make sure he's as fit as he can be and gets in a stronger position and balances the demands of England and club level.
"That's what I'm focused on, that his day to day is perfect.
"Everything else, behind the scenes we're happy with the situation and we're making sure he's happy as well."
Earlier in September, Martinez had said: "We want to do what we can to reward that and let him [Baines] know he deserves our appreciation.
"Contract talks will be opened but it is not just about the contract, it is about making sure he knows how much we want him and how much we appreciate him."
While Everton are unlikely to not revisit Baines' future at the club, the delay in contract talks with only encourage United to ramp up their pursuit of the former Wigan Athletic full-back in the January transfer window.
In having two bids rejected in the summer, manager David Moyes made clear his lack of confidence in United's left-back options which include Patrice Evra and Alexander Buttner.
Evra's form for United has declined in recent seasons and he was run ragged by Manchester City winger Jesus Navas in the 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
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