Everton have rejected a £28 million joint bid from Manchester United for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines as "derisory and insulting".
United offered £16 million for 25-year-old Fellaini just over a fortnight after a £23.5 million buyout clause expired, sources told ESPN FC on Monday morning.
The Premier League champions also attempted to include Baines, 28, in their bid for a further £12 million -- having had an identical offer for the England left-back rejected in late June.
A statement from Everton director of communications Alan Myers, published on the club's official website later on Monday, read: "Everton can confirm that it has received bids from Manchester United for two players. Those bids were immediately rejected out of hand as derisory and insulting.
"The club did not make public these details as it was vital Roberto Martinez's preparations for the opening game of the Premier League season were not disrupted in anyway."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez confirmed last Thursday that Fellaini’s buy-out clause expired on July 31.
He said then: “Marouane had a buy-out clause where it was very straightforward. If someone met that valuation, the club had no say. That finished on July 31 so you can imagine during that period everyone was a bit expectant about what would happen. Once that date went, you just focus on working for the next season.”
Chairman Bill Kenwright has warned David Moyes off returning to Goodison Park to try to sign his former players. Moyes left Everton after 11 years in charge at the end of last season to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as United’s manager.
And after appointing Martinez in early June -- before Fellaini’s escape clause expired -- Kenwright said: “I’ve not said to David [Moyes]: ‘David, come on.’ I’ve said exactly the opposite. I’ve said to David: ‘We all know the situation at Everton. We all know there’s a player who’s got an escape clause, but the others are not for sale.’
“I’m as in love with this football squad as any Evertonian out there. They are this club and we don’t want them to go.”
Everton signed Belgium international Fellaini for £15 million from Standard Liege in 2008, and is under contract until the summer of 2016.
Baines, signed from Wigan for £6 million in August 2007, has a deal that runs until 2015, although Martinez is looking to extend it.
Meanwhile, Everton’s manager is pushing to sign midfielder Gareth Barry on loan, but is only likely to get him if Manchester City agree to subsidise the 32-year-old’s salary, which is reported to be around £90,000 a week.