City launch £15m raid for Lescott

High-spending Hughes tests Moyes' resolve with offer for Everton defender
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The Independent Online

Manchester City tabled a bid of around £15m for Everton's Joleon Lescott yesterday, underlining manager Mark Hughes' belief that the England international is needed as a partner for John Terry, and not a back-up.

City remain hopeful that the Arsenal striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, will join the club, possibly within 24 hours, and that particular deal is understood to have progressed well yesterday, despite the absence of tangible evidence of completion.

The situation remains fluid – the player is reported to be pondering whether he wants to make a move to less well known club – but the mood from City is positive where the £25m deal agreed with Arsenal is concerned.

Hughes, who flew from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg after a hectic day of public appearances with Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland and Roque Santa Cruz, shows no sign of relenting in his assembly of a team to permeate the top four and while a second bid of nearer to £20m is likely to be needed to prise Lescott away, there is a belief that the Everton manager David Moyes' insistence that the defender is staying will count for less when the City offer comes in.

Moyes reiterated his own position, where Lescott is concerned, as firmly as ever at an Everton shareholders' forum on Wednesday night. "I have already said there will be no players sold at Everton and I do not feel I need to say any more," Moyes said. "The board have never sold a player from me, it will only be at my discretion. I said it at the end of the season and I do not need to say any more."

But Lescott has always been above Kolo Touré in the list of defenders Hughes is seeking and there has been a feeling since the January transfer window the 26-year-old might be persuaded to move. When last pressed on the subject after England's World Cup demolition of Andorra last month, he was prickly and fell short of a declaration of loyalty to the Merseyside club.

"We do need new players," Hughes said in Abu Dhabi. "We are still in discussions [over Adebayor] and the talks will continue. We have got attacking-minded players but we are looking to bring other players to the club before the transfer window closes."

Meanwhile, Carlos Tevez has revealed that he rejected the chance to join former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. The Argentina striker also confirmed that Chelsea and Liverpool had made inquiries about securing his services.

Instead Tevez opted for a move to City after his extended loan deal at United ended, signing a lucrative five-year deal at Eastlands. "Real made an offer but there was no agreement," Tevez told The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi.

"There were talks about deals and agreements but in the end it was only City. They showed lots of interest in me and are intent on growing and signing big players."

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