The Manchester United manager has made signing a left back his top priority after strengthening his midfield with the acquisitions of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell from Borussia Dortmund and Crewe Alexandra respectively.
Ferguson has opted against promoting youngsters Robbie Brady and Tyler Blackett to the first-team squad after giving them a chance to stake a claim as Patrice Evra’s understudy during pre-season.
Having let Fabio join QPR on loan for the season and permit Ezekiel Fryers to join Tottenham Hotspur the 70-year-old admits he is light in terms of experienced full back options.
“Left-back is an area which we’re paying attention to in that sense that Patrice, in the last five years, has played an average of 45 to 50 games,” he said.
“Patrice will be all right. He’s shown he has a resilience about him and has a great attitude to playing, but he is 31 next month.”
England international Baines is a long-term target for Ferguson and is expected to head a short-list of possible candidates capable of challenging Evra for a starting spot next term.
The 27-year-old has emerged as a key player for the Toffees since joining from Wigan Athletic in 2007 but manager David Moyes knows he can’t pass up a lucrative sale given the financial situation he continues to endure at Goodison Park.
Moyes values him at £12m but the Red Devils aren’t keen to pay above £8m despite holding a desire to bring Baines to Old Trafford this summer and will need to increase their initial proposal.
Ferguson initially wanted Baines on board before United embarked on their pre-season tour to South Africa and China but now hopes to have him before the new Premier League campaign starts next month.