Joleon Lescott has been axed by Everton from their opening Europa League tie with manager David Moyes defying Manchester City to make an acceptable offer for the defender.
Moyes took the decision to drop Lescott from the play-off first leg against Sigma Olomouc at Goodison Park for "his bad attitude" after also leaving him out of today's training session.
This is the latest chapter in a saga that has been rumbling on for weeks with Lescott being pursued by Manchester City, who have had two bids of £15million and £18million rejected for the defender.
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."
But Moyes insisted he still does not want to sell the player, saying: "I hope this will all be sorted out, after the deadline."
This latest desperate move by Moyes could, many will think, pave the way for the England defender to join the Eastlands galaxy of superstars.
But Moyes is still defiant. He said: "People can read what they like into this. But I have said all along I don't want to sell him. But it is a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United, there is always a price.
"At this moment no club has made us an offer for the player that we want to accept."
The Lescott situation has come to a head in the wake of Everton's shattering 6-1 home defeat by Arsenal on Saturday, when Moyes was critical of defensive lapses, although he did not point the finger at Lescott.
But it is clear the atmosphere at the Finch Farm training complex has worsened since then.
Moyes added: "I made a decision today and due to Joleon's attitude, I felt it would be better if he wasn't included in the squad. He does not seem to be in the right frame of mind.
"He wasn't (right) before Saturday's game and he told me that. But I took the risk and chose to play him. But now the time is right to leave him alone until things are sorted, and hopefully that will be after the deadline.
"I find Joleon a really good boy to work with, a pleasure in fact. I couldn't say enough good things about him.
"But the boy has changed. It is not just me (who has noticed) but the players who are working with him have noticed it as well.
"But the door is open for Joleon. We don't want him to go, I have said that all along, unless we get an offer that I think is right.
"But at the present time he is not in the squad and it is best that we get on without him."
With Phil Jagielka still out injured, Moyes has defensive problems and admits he must chose between skipper Phil Neville and England Under-21 star Jack Rodwell to play in defence alongside Joseph Yobo.
The former Preston boss continued: "I know this is a gamble, but I hope we can get back on the right road now after the 6-1 defeat by Arsenal. That has damaged our confidence, and our reputation.
"We have to rebuild that again. We are starting as low as we can go, but maybe we needed it.
"Maybe I have been telling the players that they are too good, too often.
"Maybe they need to back to doing the basic things and progressing their careers. Back to basics now and back to playing much better.
"We have a lot of consciences, players here keen to put things right. They are embarrassed by that performance, but the place to put it right is on the field.
"That is where they need to show me and the fans how they feel about Saturday.
"I agree that the fans will be hoping to see something better than what they experienced at the weekend.
"I haven't got it out of my system, not for a long while. It will always be there, but we are preparing for the next one and aim to still finish at the top end of the Premier League."
He added: "We know a bit about Sigma, we had them watched at the weekend and have also viewed the DVD of their games with Aberdeen. They must be a decent side to have scored eight in that tie.
"I have talked to Aberdeen manager Mark McGee, and we know what we are up against. They are hard-working and well organised.
"They are not at the same level as Standard Liege, who knocked us out of the UEFA Cup last season. But we need to find our form very quickly.
"This is massive for Everton this season. A lot of clubs spent a lot of money and didn't qualify while we did.
"But the Europa League excites me, I really want this club to do well in it."Reuse content