Everton manager David Moyes was offered a mere £250,000 for Phil Neville in a telephone call from Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp on Saturday afternoon, a proposition he has described as "insulting" and the most extraordinary he has known in his 13-year managerial career.
Spurs upped their bid to £500,000 yesterday morning – with £250,000 to be paid now and the other half in a year's time – though Everton have given short shrift to the proposition for a player who has 18 months to run on his contract and played virtually every game for the club this season.
"There is no reaction to that," Moyes said yesterday. "I think an offer like that for Everton's captain is a disrespectful offer to the club and I think it is a disrespectful offer for a player of Phil's qualities. I could understand it if he had six months to go on his contract. I think it is as surprising an offer as I have known in my career."
Moyes appears to have been civil when Redknapp's call came in to him at 4pm on Saturday, as he was leaving Goodison Park after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the FA Cup. "We had a bit of banter about horses and different things," Moyes said. "He made the bid. There have been a lot of people saying things, but Saturday at 4pm was the first time we had an offer."
But Moyes is not happy. The level of bid, for a player Everton paid out £3.5m to bring from Old Trafford six years ago, seems to suggest that Tottenham felt the player might have been attracted enough by the proposition of playing Champions League football to push for a departure. Moyes's comments came before he talked to the 34-year-old about the bid yesterday. But the fact that the Merseyside club have received the same purchase offer for Neville that Spurs received in a loan fee from Birmingham City for David Bentley, only adds to the sense of indignation at Everton. Moyes said Neville was experienced enough not to allow such a low offer to affect his own confidence.
Moyes' transfer window ended in a whimper. "Not a whifter," he said yesterday, when asked if his attempts to sign a striker had come to anything. He also joked that the only Torres he might sign would be Crawley Town's Sergio, who was bought from Peterborough for £100,000 last summer.
Moyes insisted he did not regret the decision to send Yakubu Aiyegbeni out on loan to Leicester City, even though the idea in doing so was to free some money to bring in a badly needed new striker of his own. There had been hopes that Monaco's Congolese striker Dieumerci Mbokani might come in, though Moyes said his club were never anywhere near accomplishing a deal to reinforce the front line, even though James Vaughan has also headed out on loan, to Crystal Palace.
Moyes will give Tim Cahill two days' rest after his return from the Asian Cup and he will not figure against Arsenal at the Emirates tonight. Tony Hibbert's sickness also makes him a doubt.