Moyes: Lescott staying with Everton
David Moyes' belief that he has total power at Everton produced an astonishing outburst of defiance aimed at Manchester City boss Mark Hughes over the long-running Joleon Lescott saga. The Scot has condemned City's transfer tactics over the defender as "disgusting", and would clearly be angered by any attempt to sell the player over his head.
Manager Moyes is furious that Hughes has suggested that City "are talking to the people at Everton that ultimately make the decisions". Two bids, £15million and £18million, plus a written transfer demand from Lescott, have not shifted Moyes from his stance despite claims that a further £22million bid could be on the way.
If Everton do sell Lescott now, Moyes' position may become untenable and chairman Bill Kenwright surely would not dare to risk such upheaval with a manager who is revered among the Goodison faithful. Moyes, preparing his side for tomorrow's season opener at home to Arsenal, launched a bitter attack on Hughes and City.
He said: "There is no dialogue between us and Manchester City as far as I know. Maybe City are having dialogue with somebody else, but it is not between me and City. He [Hughes] said they were talking to people who make the decisions here. Well he knows who makes the decisions at Everton and it is me.
"He has never once picked up the phone and given me a call, so he is not going to get the answer. I am the one who makes the decisions here, not like other clubs. It has disrupted us. They have been talking about it and we have not been talking about the start of the season, that has been disruptive. So maybe that is what the overall plan was."
Moyes added: "I look back and see how Real Madrid did their business with Manchester United (over Ronaldo). It was done at the tail end of the season, and it was done quickly to allow United to buy if they wanted to do so.
"We cannot be getting offers a week or two to go before the end of the deadline. And the offers they made shows that we value Joleon Lescott far higher than they do. Joleon is a massive player for us, we think so much of him and do not want to lose him.
"The players here think so much of him, and as a (coaching) staff we do. His head has been twisted and I cannot say the way things have been done is right, it is not how we do things at this club. But maybe their football club is different, I control things here, maybe it is not quite the same there."
In the wake of Moyes' furious attack, Hughes may well have to look elsewhere with Lescott due to play against Arsenal.
Moyes added: "City are not talking to this club, certainly not me. They know who to phone and that is me but it hasn't happened. They must be talking to the wrong people. It has not been handled correctly from over there (City). We do not do our business in public, we would go to the right people to find out what is happening.
"We have said all along that we do not want to sell Lescott. Most clubs will have a price for a player, Manchester United had one for Ronaldo and the business was done in the right way. There is not a chance we will sell this close to the end of the window, the offers were not big enough. We think the world of him, as a centre-half and a left-back. He gives us two players in one. City paid £12million for Gareth Barry with one year left on his contract. Lescott has four and half years on his contract left."
Moyes accepts that he now has a disgruntled player on his hands. He said of Lescott: "He has been distracted, he is in turmoil with the situation and you can see how things have gone. He has been consistently told by the manager that he will not be sold so he should get his head around that and get on with the job.
"But maybe other people are telling him differently. I hope he knuckles down, he should do because the fans gave him a great reception last week for the friendly with Malaga, and they should do. That is what we want. The fans showed they felt the decision we were making was right, hopefully they still see that.
"It has undoubtedly clouded the start of our season. We have had a month now of all this and that has been through the media and not to me. I make the decisions and there has not been one call to me. They way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupted our club and made it very difficult for us."