Lescott regrets bitter parting with Moyes on arrival at City

Centre-half denies money was main motivation behind move from Goodison Park
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The Independent Online

It says something of the iron grip that David Moyes exerts over Everton that the two biggest names to leave Goodison Park under his management have had to force themselves out.

The dispute between Moyes and Wayne Rooney finished in the High Court with the Everton manager receiving substantial libel damages for comments made in Rooney's autobiography. Lescott has gone to the other side of Manchester for the same £24m fee that United paid for Rooney but at least he and Moyes managed a final handshake.

"The relationship didn't end the way I would have liked it to end," said Lescott on his first day as a Manchester City player. "But I do understand his point of view. We spoke on Saturday when the deal was coming to a close. I said goodbye to everyone at the training ground and now we move on in our separate ways."

The man who stands behind Rio Ferdinand and Alessandro Nesta as the third most expensive defender in the world rejected accusations that his desire to prise himself away from Everton had contributed to the club's dismal beginning to the campaign.

Moyes had insisted he played on the opening day of the season despite his defender's belief that he was mentally not right to face Arsenal. Given the 6-1 scoreline, perhaps Lescott should not have played, although Mark Hughes stated that what he saw as Everton's delaying tactics was merely a strategy to push the price up. Since they paid £9m more than their first offer, the Manchester City manager may have been right.

Unlike Rooney, Lescott did not contribute to the disillusionment among supporters by coming out with comments like "once a Blue, always a Blue," that are hurled back at Rooney every time he ventures into the stadium where he dreamed of playing as a boy. And although he would be well aware that his return to Goodison with Manchester City in January will not be a pleasant experience, he does not expect the bear-pit atmosphere Rooney has had to endure.

"As a professional you have to get on with everything," he reflected. "I didn't expect the fans to accept that I wanted to leave but I made the decision and I have to live with the consequences. I don't think it is the same case as Wayne Rooney because Wayne came through the youth team and had a much closer rapport with the fans."

Yesterday, Hughes remarked that he had signed potentially the best centre-half in the country, although Lescott may not actually be the best centre-half at Everton. Nevertheless, there was huge satisfaction in his voice when Hughes said that the process of identifying transfer targets that had begun in December 2008 was now virtually over, some eight months and £120m later.

And in the slim shape of Sylvinho, the former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back who signed with Lescott, he has a player with the kind of winning mentality that Manchester City used to entirely lack.

Given that Lescott, like most first-choice Premier League players, is already a millionaire, the suggestion that his chief motivation was to double his salary at Eastlands might not be entirely correct.

"The way Manchester City are going, the signings they have made this summer and the ambitions they have made me want to be a part of it," Lescott said yesterday. "A playing career does not last long and I want to win as many things as I can before I finish and I think Manchester City are more equipped to do that."

There are few in the Gwladys End who in their hearts would disagree with that statement.

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