Despite Manuel Pellegrini’s insistences to the contrary, it’s strongly suspected that Joleon Lescott will be departing Manchester City this January and a host of Premier League sides are circling.
A shock move to Besiktas has been mooted in recent days, but with the player’s dwindling World Cup prospects verging on extinction, a move to Turkey would have an adverse impact on his international career.
With much better alternatives located closer to home, the switch is also completely unnecessary as Tottenham, Aston Villa, Newcastle and former club Everton are all vying to acquire Lescott’s services.
Of the three, it could be argued that Goodison Park represents the most suitable destination for which the 31-year-old’s career could be resurrected, as it has for Gareth Barry.
In making over 112 top-tier appearances for the Toffees, Lescott established himself as one of the finest English central defenders in the land, resulting in a £22m move to Man City for the 2009/10 campaign.
He played an integral role in the club’s solo Premier League title success in 2011/12, but since then has been deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad, starting just 24 of the club’s top flight encounters since hoisting the top-flight trophy.
A return to Everton would provide the perfect platform upon which he could showcase his obvious talent, where game time would be much more forthcoming, especially with the recent injuries to Roberto Martinez’s first-choice stopping pair, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka.
A lack of strength-in-depth is likely to curtail the Merseysiders’ push for an unanticipated top-four finish this term, with the largely untested John Stones being pitched in alongside Antolin Alcaraz in the club’s 1-1 draw at Stoke last time out.
Their cause would be aided immeasurably by the arrival of another experienced defender and, while the prospects for success are, on paper at least, brighter at Spurs, Lescott would not be guaranteed the same playing time as he would elsewhere.
The biggest stumbling block to any suitor forcing through a potential move is Pellegrini’s statement that only ‘sizeable’ bids will be considered in this transfer window, but for the sake of Everton’s odds of 5/1 to qualify for next season’s Champions League, they may be better served taking the plunge now.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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