Manchester City stepped closer to the signing of Joleon Lescott yesterday when David Moyes finally went public on his falling out with the defender. The Everton manager attacked Lescott's "attitude" and said that he had dropped the player from the squad for tonight's Europa League qualifier.
The prospective departure of Lescott, 27, has been hanging over Moyes since Manchester City made their £15m bid for the player last month. The Everton manager had refused to discuss the possibility of Lescott being sold but he let rip yesterday as it emerged that the England international was training apart from the squad.
Moyes said: "Joleon's attitude has not been right these past days, he has disappointed me and he has disappointed his team-mates. He is not in the right frame of mind. I've always thought he was a good lad. But I think he has not only let himself down but his team-mates, too."
Lescott has been the subject of two bids from City, the second reaching £18m, and he has asked to leave the club but been refused by Moyes. The Everton manager said yesterday that he was still hopeful of a resolution that would see Lescott stay at Goodison. He said: "I hope this will all be sorted out, after the [transfer] deadline."
City have been unwilling to improve on their £18m bid for Lescott unless they were sure of his resolve to leave. This latest rift would appear to clear the way for a third bid of £20m plus add-ons that City expect to be successful. Everton are thought to be unimpressed by any suggestion that their former player Richard Dunne would be part of the deal. Everton play the Czech club Sigma Olomouc at Goodison tonight.
The Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is minded not to make a move for the Celtic midfielder Scott Brown who he watched in person against Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night. Redknapp had been public about his admiration for the Scotland international but does not feel that Brown would significantly improve his squad.
Brown, 24, played out of position against Arsenal, operating on the right side instead of the centre of midfield in the 2-0 defeat. Redknapp is aware that the signing of another midfielder would create problems among a squad in which he already has established professionals Wilson Palacios, Jermaine Jenas, Luka Modric, Tom Huddlestone and Jamie O'Hara as well as youngsters John Bostock and Dean Parrett.
Manuel Almunia has become the latest voice from Arsenal to suggest that life is more harmonious there since the summer departure of Emmanuel Adebayor. He said: "[With] all players, we have a better relationship with each other and, if the dressing room works, then, on the pitch, the team works as well."