Lescott the real winner in City deal
Everton manager David Moyes may have fought bravely against it, but Joleon Lescott's transfer to Manchester City is on the brink of completion and once again money has proved the ultimate power in football.
Everton would have preferred to keep hold of their best defender, but after his "bad attitude" contributed to the club's pointless start to the season and City's bids increased in value there was only ever going to be one outcome in this battle.
Moyes' stubborn stance may have forced City to hand over a hefty £24m transfer fee, but what use is a big pile of cash if Everton can't replace their star centre-back?
With want-away Lescott benched at Burnley on Sunday, the versatile Phil Neville was forced play in central defence as the Toffees were downed 1-0 against the Premier League new boys. His lack of experience in the position was exposed for the Clarets' winning goal.
And with only seven days before the transfer window slams shut, Moyes has a very limited time in which to find a replacement for Lescott. Arsenal flop Philippe Senderos, relegated Newcastle defender Steven Taylor and Stoke City's young centre-back Ryan Shawcross have all been linked with Everton but none are of the calibre of Lescott.
When the transfer window closes Moyes could be left staring at a healthy bank balance but a frightening 'Goals Against' column in the Premier League.
As for City, they may have got their man, but they have paid well over the odds for a defender that can't even get into the England team when Fabio Capello's squad are fully fit.
To put it into context, England regular Gareth Barry only cost £12m and will exert far more influence on the Citizens' assault on the top four this season. Argentina striker Carlos Tevez cost City £25m, just £1m more than Lescott, and that was a fee his previous club Manchester United deemed to be too much for his limited talent.
City boss Mark Hughes may have finally signed the long-term target he required to sure up his defence, but the real winner from this costly deal is Lescott. A nice new lucrative contract will ease any feeling of betrayal he may have after quitting the club who plucked him from Championship football and gave him a chance in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old proved himself at Goodison Park and will undoubtedly prove to a be a good, maybe even great, player for City, but the courting of Lescott via the press (and the inflated price paid) has left a sour taste in the mouth of many of their league rivals.
Not least Moyes, who said right from the start: "The way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupt our club and made it very difficult for us." Maybe that's what the overall plan was.