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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Toffees unhappy with Fernandes conduct

Everton have pointed the finger at Manuel Fernandes and his third-party owners for the collapse of the deal taking him to Goodison Park.

The 21-year-old midfielder passed a medical and trained with Everton last week before attending Saturday's match against Blackburn as a guest and assuring chairman Bill Kenwright he would join the club.

However, the club were left stunned when Fernandes, who played on loan at Goodison last season, left Liverpool to fly to Valencia, where agreed a six-year contract at the Mestalla.

Everton sought tonight to explain their part in last week's negotiations and explained how close they were to signing the player from Benfica.

A statement on the club's website, said: 'Everton Football Club feels it should clarify the situation with regards to Manuel Fernandes.

'We worked hard all last week on what was a very difficult and complex three-party agreement.

'Everton staff worked through the night on Thursday, finally reaching agreement with the English footballing authorities on Friday afternoon.

'A similar night's work on Friday left us satisfied that we had both addressed and agreed all issues with the other involved parties.

'However, on Saturday we were informed that another club had come in with a rival bid and despite sustained efforts over the remainder of the weekend the player today joined Valencia.

'David Moyes and his coaching staff are continuing to seek the extra addition to our squad, which they feel they require for this season.''

Fernandes was presented in Spain today and said: 'I thank Valencia for their confidence and hope to be in my new team for many years.

'I have spoken before with Miguel (Valencia's Portuguese full-back), and he has told me that it is a great club, with the possibility to grow.''

Fernandes, who Spanish media are reporting will cost his new club 18million euros (£12.2million), knows he faces a challenge to earn a starting spot at star-studded Valencia, but that is what he has set his sights on.

'It is never easy. I respect my team-mates, but I have come here to play and to be a starter,'' he added.

'I am a player for the centre of the field, a team player. I am combative and I hope to help the team, I play for my team-mates.''