Ever since being relegated to the role of a part-time performer earlier in the season, Joleon Lescott has been a name many expect to leave Manchester City—especially after being initially axed from the recent England squad.
The reason this would have come as an unexpected transaction for some is due to the acrimonious nature of his departure from the Toffees back in 2009.
After handing in an unwelcome transfer request, Lescott was ostracised by David Moyes, who made him train on his own, before eventually granting his move away.
As summer transfer rumours begin to surface, whispers have once again been heard of a possible summer reunion with the Toffees (via the Express), which—despite the controversy—would actually prove smart business for the club.
Lescott is a high-class player. He is proven at international level and in the Premier League, and he is certainly of the calibre Everton would be keen to attract.
His omission from City's defence has been quite peculiar, given how impressive the champion's rearguard was last season, conceding at a miserly 0.76 goals per-game. This year, without Lescott, that ratio's risen to 0.87.
What makes Everton such a suitable fit is the previous success he's experienced at the club, especially with Phil Jagielka, who Lescott shares impressive chemistry with.
In 2007/08 he was an integral member of a back four that registered 15 clean sheets, while managing 17 the year after. This year the Toffees have only managed six, which shows just how valuable his return could prove.
However, away from his considerable defensive attributes, Lescott is also a major threat at set-pieces. During his first spell at Everton he found the back of the net 17 times in 143 appearances—a goal every 8.4 games. In 2007/08 he even managed 10 goals in a single season for the Toffees.
This is an area Moyes' side have struggled to replicate since his departure, with Jagielka, Distin and Johnny Heitinga combining for 17 goals in 486 appearances—a goal every 28.6 games.
Some may have concerns about his advancing years, but 30 can be relatively middle-aged for a centre-back, and one only has to look at the service Sylvain Distin has given the Toffees in the winter of his career.
Next year, Heitinga will be entering the final year of his contract with Everton, and given his—at best—mediocre form this season, the Toffees will presumably be looking to cash in on the Dutchman.
With Distin now 35, the Toffees will almost certainly be looking for a couple of new options at the back, one of which could well be Lescott.
After Everton's recent win over City, Moyes was seen shaking Lescott's hand at the end, a sign that perhaps the pair's strained relationship has been soothed over time, and possibly even an insight into the future.
Of course, Moyes may or may not be there to recruit him once again over the summer, but as hard as a return may be for some sections of support to stomach, few would argue Lescott wouldn't improve the Toffees at both ends of the pitch.
While youth needs to be Everton's priority in most areas this summer, if a loan—or knock-down price—can be agreed for Lescott, a return to Goodison Park makes a lot of sense.