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Battle not worth fighting

By Jamie Rowland :  20/08/2009 :  Comments (14) :

In my opinion (and I am no footballing genius), Joleon Lescott is no Rio Ferdinand, John Terry or even Phil Jagielka. I don’t say this in a manner that attempts to soften the blow should he leave. Its just that I genuinely don’t think he is good as some of his England international peers. Something which, I believe, is proven by the fact that other top sides and champions league clubs, short of a centre back, and yet they are not looking at the Lescott saga and hoping to latch on. Indeed, only this week Vidic has publicly announced that he would ‘like’ to play in Spain — adding at least some smoke to the constant rumours that surround him every transfer window. Still, however, Sir Alex does not look or enquire as to the availability of Lescott.

Based on this, a ridiculously large offer of £20M (and above) is simply too good to refuse. We would be daft to not bite the hand off City should they decide to bid again. Unfortunately, the impression coming out of our great club is that a stubborn manager is throwing his toys out of the pram. Man-City have not publicly announced anything regarding Lescott or the ‘official’ bids — that information has come from Moyes. Hughes only began to talk and comment after being branded ‘arrogant’ by our beloved red-haired Scot. I feel that our PR has been a major factor, in that it has been disastrous, in convincing Lescott that its time to move on. (along with the fact that we are not improving the current squad with any urgency).

Moyes’s stubbornness in putting up a hard-line stance on selling Lescott was probably backed by a threat to follow him out of the door if Kenwright (et al) did not support his wish. We all know from his contract debacle last year that he thinks being in charge of the squad without hindrance is very important and Moyes would never stand for a Newcastle situation (where a director manages the squad purchases and sales). There is adoration amongst the fans for this ethos and it only increased in the early days as he announced Lescott would not be leaving. I thought that Moyes was doing the right thing in standing up to the power of the billionaires and I commented frequently to that effect.

My view has changed. With Lescott having had his head turned, being visibly uncommitted against Arsenal, not training with the first team and placing an official transfer request has made my mind up that it is time for him to no longer deserve a shirt that I unconditionally support.

Moyes’s logic in this saga is fundamentally flawed. Lescott is no £20M player and he certainly is not worth the club’s asking price of £30M (although this was surely a tactic to put potential suitors off?). He is a good player, better than average but he is no world beater, being only on the fringe of the international squad and not anywhere near becoming a household name and regular — again something that is proven by the lack of interest from established champions league sides.

Another point is that he is now 27 years old. His first year with us was very good, his second even better but 2009 seen a decline in performance and this was most definitely apparent when Jagielka was missing to back him up. Yobo isn’t the kind of player to ‘watch the back’ of his fellow centre half and can’t read Joleon Lescott’s game as well as Jagielka can. Lescott, again my own thoughts, was noticeably worse last season than the season before. Perhaps we have already had the best years he had to offer?

Lescott doesn’t want to play for us. This was evident when he put in his transfer request despite knowing that it would be flatly refused. Upsetting the karma amongst the team did not seem to bother Lescott and I am struggling to keep my faith in him.

While I can applaud Moyes for fighting our corner and showing loyalty towards our cause, not being bullied by the riches of a club who finished five places below us. I cant help to wonder why he thinks hanging on to Lescott is such a major concern. Moyes knows how football works and he knows his players but why he is assuming that Lescott will continue to work unaffected when he clearly doesn’t want to don the Royal Blue jersey is beyond my comprehension. £20M is a lot of money and we could use it to replace him for an equally experienced, younger premier league centre back in Senderos or Taylor and still have resources to improve other areas of our first team. (Defour, Benaga, Elm etc).

So for this Everton fan, it is time to sell and make the money. This may go against Moyes’s principles and he may feel as though his pride has taken a knock but I wouldn’t hold it against him. I couldn’t blame him for taking the money now that Lescott is not training and has a ‘poor attitude’. That’s not going to change and the writing is on the wall. I wouldn’t want to turn our back on £20M plus for a player that we could easily replace.

Reader Comments

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Steve Edwards
1   Posted 20/08/2009 at 18:14:26

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Good article and I totally agree. I don’t think Lescott had such a wonderful season last year. He was dreadful at the start of last season and I hold him responsible for Chelsea’s equalizer in the cup final.

Its interesting to see his performances for England. I don’t know if it is a confidence thing but he quite simply looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. The look on his face, he was absolutely shitting himself whenever he got the ball. To be honest, I’m surprised that Capello has persisted with him. Its interesting to note that City supporters are not exactly over the moon by his iminent arrival. That is probably because they are judging him by his England performances.

If Lescott is a confidence player and I for one think he is, then he better watch out if he goes to City. I don’t think they will tolerate the sought of performance he puts in for England. If he is mixing with big name players and a manager he knows can replace him at the drop of a hat, well, he may well freeze. Life may become less fun and I don’t think this is just wishful thinking.
Kevy Quinn
2   Posted 20/08/2009 at 18:36:43

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I think judging by Moyes interview, he is going to sell him. It's just a matter of getting as much money as possible now. I've heard rumours of players plus cash, the only player I feel we should take in that sort of deal is Petrov. Dunne etc are bog standard.

Looking at possible quality replacements, Taylor from Newcastle would be good. He's in the Jagielka mould. I think we all agree if Jags was fit Moysie would have shipped Lescott off already. Jags is different class and if City are willing to pay that for Lescott how much wud he be worth? Shame we missed out on Bassong as he looks a quality player and left footed.

Looks like we’ll have to make do with Captain Phil in the mean time in centre back. I've heard Moysie has been training flat out and has his boots ready and cleaned to come out of retirement and show the lads how he used to earn a living.

David Walton
3   Posted 20/08/2009 at 18:47:58

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I agree with the article, Lescott wants out so I can’t see the point of keeping him. It's surely better to take the money & replace him with someone like Taylor. The kinda money mooted would certainly help squad strengthening, something that's essential to our chances of improvement. It's time for Mr Moyes to swallow his pride, take the over inflated fee while he has time & the opportunity to make the money count.
Glen Strachan
4   Posted 20/08/2009 at 19:29:19

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My main fear is not that Lescott goes - we will be well rid of this shady character.

He will not be missed in the centre of our defence although the shaky form of Baines this season suggests he just might have been on his way back to left back when we signed Taylor or whoever.

My Lescott concern surrounds him passing the medical.

Remember the problems that caused when we signed him from Wolves and how long that deal was delayed.

Please no Senderos - a sicknote with a weakness for red cards - but make no mistake the disappointingly dishonest Lescott is just stinking out the dressing room right now and should be chased out to anybody daft enough to offer such a transfer price.
Kevy Quinn
5   Posted 20/08/2009 at 19:53:04

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Just confirmed were in talks to sign Taylor on sky sports news. Should be sorted by the January transfer window.
Chris Jones
6   Posted 21/08/2009 at 04:33:29

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We have a paper thin squad and a player who can cover two positions (and turn in quite a few goals) is not easy to replace, hence Moyes’ desire to hang on to him, unless the price is absolutely right.

What I think is not appreciated sufficiently is Citeh’s desire to have Lescott is only half the story. Moyes and others believe Citeh’s intention here wasn’t solely to buy a player, but to screw around with EFC’s team spirit.

Everyone acknowledges we’ve been punching above our weight, and that we have done so has been ascribed to a combination of DM’s leadership and team spirit, mostly the latter.

So picture the discussion in the Citeh boardroom a couple of months ago -

"Right, we need to get past EFC (among others) to get in a position to challenge the top 4. How do we do that? I know, let’s nobble them - we pick a player or two we think might fit into our squad, and we go after them, offering loads of dosh. Chances are, even if we fail to make a purchase, we’ll have fucked up their dressing room or at the very least left 1 or 2 players thoroughly pissed-off and resentful, and bingo, there goes the famous EFC team spirt. Job done!"
Dan Brierley
7   Posted 21/08/2009 at 05:09:01

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Chris, I think there may be some truth in what you have said. Obviously, Citeh see us as a team to be concerned about. They will be looking for 5th place as a minimum.

And for sure, Lescott’s saga has had an impact on the team spirit. But now it seems to to be heading towards conclusion (him leaving), I am wondering if this can give us more inspiriation. He wants to leave in search of greener grass. Can this ignite the players into thinking ’we’ll show him that the grass is not always greener’. I am guessing that when we face Citeh, the players would be really fired up to hammer a few goals in. And if we are close to them in the table, the thought of finishing above him and his mercenary team might give us more fight in our bellies....
Ciarán McGlone
8   Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:17:53

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I find it ludicrous to suggest that Hughes’s intention has been to unsettle our team. He simply wanted to buy a player and improve his team. Playing him was the most unsettling feature of this whole saga, and Hughes wasn’t responsible for that.

However, good article... Moyes's stance was commendable up to a point — and that point was the transfer request. Let's just hope he is now merely posturing to maximise the bid. It has gone too far — irrespective of what happened with Barry at Villa last year.
Ciarán McGlone
9   Posted 21/08/2009 at 11:12:33

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Now that city have officially ended their interest...what the hell do we do with Lescott now!

Now, we’re left with a dud player who can’t play with us..who’s worth nothing.

Ciarán McGlone
10   Posted 21/08/2009 at 12:31:35

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I think I may have been a bit previous with that last one...
Colin Grierson
11   Posted 21/08/2009 at 13:42:52

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The fact that Lescott handed in his transfer request and then legged it to the England camp says it all to me. The man’s a coward and is no longer worthy of wearing the Everton top.

He is a good player at best. He gets goals but I agree with the original post entirely. If I was Moyes I would cash in regardless as Lescott has never been and never will be a £20m player. He has scored goals from a centre half position which makes him marketable.

Hughes has probably been playing fantasy football where Lescott comes out as one of the top defenders in the Premier League due to his goal tally. Jagielka is worthy of a £20m price tag IMO and thankfully he is not the current Judas. COYB

John Carter
12   Posted 21/08/2009 at 15:57:08

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You seem to be forgetting that replacing Lescott requires TWO players, and the main replacement a CB would preferably be English to keep the 6 + 5 balance. We’d also need a LB to cover Baines. If you think there’s a lot of cash left after buying those two you haven’t been paying attention to the inflated market prices for defenders or English players. Most notably in the alledgely near £16m price for Naughton and Delph.
Andy Crooks
13   Posted 22/08/2009 at 18:39:30

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John, Lescott was hopeless at left back, something that took a while to sink in with David Moyes. Good luck to him going to City. We will get well over the odds for a distinctly average centre-back who has had his limitations well and truly exposed at international level.
Garry Martin
14   Posted 22/08/2009 at 20:24:28

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Hope the shit's knee collapses...

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