About 38,000 Toffee fans witnessed their side receive a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of a sharp Arsenal side in the late kick off on Saturday evening. A painful 90 minutes for any man, woman, or child clad in the colours of Everton, memories of the trip to Wembley must be long distant memory come 7 p.m.
It was difficult to decide which was more disturbing sight on the night: the handing over of the freedom of Goodison Park to Cesc Fabregas and his youthful contingent of team-mates or the new Everton home shirt.
However the white bib will have proved a useful addition as many home fans were left drooling at the football played by the north London club or perhaps an easily accessible handkerchief for the disheartened supporters to sob into after a hapless performance by the Toffees.
All the off pitch drama certainly affected David Moyes' preparation for the game as he struggled to keep the linchpin of his defence, Joleon Lescott, focused on matter at hand. Indeed before the game rumours were flying that the centre back had disclosed to the gaffer that his head "wasn't in the right place."
His teammates were surely aware that Lescott didn't want to be there. Evidently no sooner had a spectacular Denilson effort edged the visitors ahead, the heads started to drop which invariably spelled disaster for David Moyes, with Arsenal adding a further five goals before the end.
It is perfectly reasonable that Moyes is determined to hold onto his prized asset. Lescott has been a revelation since he joined from Wolves over three years ago for a steal at £4 million. His suitors Manchester City are now willing to pay up to five times that amount for the England international.
Mark Hughes has continued his pursuit of Lescott for the majority of the summer, with the flirting originally appearing to emanate from City before the defender finally signalled his attempt after handing in a transfer request to the Everton hierarchy. It was dismissed of course, but the seeds of doubt had been sown.
It is another example of the appeal of cash rich Manchester City. Lescott's head has been turned by the exciting project in full swing with Hughes putting together a team capable of challenging for fourth spot if not the title.
Moyes will feel exasperated. A fifth place finish, a F.A. Cup final appearance and the promise of European football will prove useless in trying to appease the broody Lescott. The player wants to go, he's made it clear; Moyes needs to cut his losses and cash in the on the player.
The Scottish manager is without doubt on of the most talented managers in the Premiership and has worked his magic under a shoe string budget at Goodison but can't compete with the million, or should I say, billions that City have at their disposal.
Far from ideal timing, Moyes' reluctance to sell is understandable. Not only will he loath losing one of his key players but he has barely any time to unearth a suitable replacement with less than two weeks left before the transfer window slams firmly shut.
Nevertheless a repeat of Saturday must be avoided and the 46-year-old will be looking to steady the rocking ship with crucial European ties approaching. A sustained run in the Europa League is a must for the club which thrives on the revenue created from Europe.
Chairmen, Bill Kenwright, will inevitably allow Moyes to reinvest the fee they receive from the sale of Lescott should the move happen. Moyes is blessed with that rare skill of plucking a player from the Championship and wielding him into a force to be reckoned with in England's top flight.
Tim Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Lescott have all established themselves as seasoned Premiership stars after Moyes paid a fraction of their estimated worth today when signing them from Millwall, Sheffield United and Wolves respectively.
In a move which could spell the end of Lescott’s spell at Everton, he has been sent by the disgruntled Moyes to train separate to the first team. Possibly an invitation for Mark Hughes to come and get his man, or alternatively alone time for the centre back to sort out his spiralling thoughts and reaffirm his commitment to the Toffees.
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