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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lescott affair leaves a nasty taste in the mouth

Few could blame David Moyes for dropping Joleon Lescott from last night’s 4-0 victory over Sigma Olomouc, with the England international’s mind obviously focused on a move to Eastlands rather that events on the pitch at Goodison Park. With the saga threatening to rumble on until the end of the transfer window, can anybody claim the moral high ground in the affair?

David Moyes has labelled Manchester City’s pursuit of Joleon Lescott as “disgusting”, claiming that Lescott “has had his head twisted”. Whilst Moyes displeasure at having the cornerstone of his defence lured away from him is understandable, it is difficult to see exactly what Mark Hughes has done wrong. He himself maintains he has gone through the correct channels.

Unfortunately for Moyes, once City’s first bid came in for Lescott, the player’s head had been turned. His submission of a verbal, and then written, transfer request served to highlight this. Whilst Moyes’ reluctance to accept this in a bid to keep Lescott at Everton is admirable, it is also highly unrealistic. In spite of Everton’s achievements last season, City have proved this summer that they have the financial clout to secure the signature of any player they want.

Moyes would probably be best served in accepting City’s bid and using the funds to strengthen his defence, and the rest of the squad, before the close of the transfer window. It’s difficult to argue with those who suggest that a fee in excess of £20 million is a lot of money for an accomplished, but not outstanding defender.

Regardless of the position between the two clubs, Lescott’s attitude has left a lot to be desired. Like any other player, he has the right to submit a transfer request, but whilst he is still employed by Everton he should be giving 100% to the cause. Anybody who watched his limp display against Arsenal last weekend will know that is not the case.

Claiming his ‘head is not in the right place’ is a feeble attempt to force through the move, and Moyes and Everton frankly deserve better. Moyes paid the not insignificant sum of £5 million in 2006 for a defender who was unproven in the Premier League. He has gone on to win seven England caps and has every chance of being on the plane to South Africa next summer. Lescott needs to repay this with commitment to the club whilst he is still there. Let us also not forget that he still getting £40,000 a week, for which Everton can rightly expect to have their employees head in the right place.

There are ten days left to go until the transfer window shuts and this deal is likely to be the focus for that period. How hard Moyes is prepared to dig his heels in remains unclear, but Manchester City are unfortunately a formidable force with which to pick a fight these days. On Sunday, Everton play a Burnley side invigorated by their mid-week victory over Manchester United. Whether Lescott has any part to play remains to be seen.

What do you think? Should Moyes stick to his guns or give in to Manchester City’s spending power? And what do you make of Lescott’s attitude? As ever, let us know your thoughts.

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