DAVID MOYES would consider taking Joleon Lescott back from Manchester City – but believes the defender’s controversial departure has helped rebuild Everton FC.
Lescott moved to Eastlands in a £24million deal back in August 2009 under a cloud with Moyes unhappy at City’s pursuit of the player.
The centre-back subsequently won the FA Cup and the Premier League with City while also appearing in the Champions League.
However, Lescott has fallen down Roberto Mancini’s pecking order this season, failing to make the bench for the last two league games and likely to again be sidelined for Everton’s visit to City this afternoon.
And asked if he would consider a loan move for the England international, Moyes added: “If Joleon wanted to come back, if I thought we needed him, I'd be delighted to have him back, I'd have no problem having Joleon back.
“I've not thought about it but if he was available then I think he'd be someone I would maybe show an interest in.”
Moyes believes Everton are in a far healthier state than when Lescott left, partly due to the funds raised by his sale and that of Jack Rodwell, also to City, for £15million this summer.
“We have used the monies that we got from them as well as we can, and the club will always be bigger than any player or manager,” said the Goodison manager.
“You lose a player, he wants to leave, then fine, you have to find a solution and fix it. That's what we've had to do.
“When Joleon left, Everton were in a different place to where we are now. I know we had a year we finished fourth, but if you look at Everton today I think there's more solidity, and Everton look more likely now to be at the top end than they were then.
“So I can understand why the player wanted to go, there was a big project going on at Manchester City but it still was a disappointing one for me.
“I saw Jags and Joleon as being at that time behind Terry and Ferdinand as the next England partnership, and maybe I'm not that far off the mark, where they are now.”
Rodwell will definitely miss out this afternoon with a fresh hamstring problem, his sixth such setback in the past 12 months.
And Moyes said: “I’m disappointed for Jack because he's a really good lad and a great lad to work with, he'll be disappointed.
“For quite a young lad he's had quite a lot of football, I know he's missed quite a lot through injuries, but he's been on the scene quite early.
“It was difficult to sell him because he's a young up and coming England international and I've tended to keep those players.
“But I knew that I probably needed to find something from somewhere and the only solution was possibly Jack. I didn't see it coming, I didn't think there was a deal in the offing.
“When it did, I thought maybe it allows us to address one or two others, it allowed me to go and get Kevin Mirallas for example.
“And because of that it gave me the feeling I could be a bit more offensive, a bit more attack-minded if we could get another forward who could score us some goals.”
Everton have won eight of their last 10 games against City but were defeated 2-0 at Eastlands last season, after which Moyes attracted some criticism for his stifling tactics.
The manager, though, is unlikely to repeat that approach with his side having improved considerably since.
“If you think about where we were this time last year and at that time Man City were flying,” said Moyes. “We went into that in a real difficult situation and we put up a really good show, we were unlucky in the end not to take something from it.”
Moyes, meanwhile, is unlikely to risk Leighton Baines this afternoon after the left-back suffered a hamstring strain during the closing stages of Wednesday’s 1-1 home draw with Arsenal.
“We've a lot of games coming up and we have to think about that,” he said. “But he's a tough lad so we'll have to see.”