Blues must stand firm on Jags

By Mark Lyness on Jul 27, 10 03:43 PM in Fans

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Phil Jagielka is the latest member of Everton's squad to be linked with a big money move away from Goodison Park this summer, with the club confirming they have turned down an enquiry from Arsenal regarding Jags' availability.

Jagielka is a key figure in the Everton defence and was sorely missed during his ten month absence with a cruciate knee ligament injury last season. His return to the Everton line up, along with Mikel Arteta's, was crucial in Everton's excellent end of season form and it would be a devastating blow to lose him.

For Evertonians the situation will undoubtedly draw parallels with Joleon Lescott's move to Manchester City almost exactly 12 months ago, however there are some key differences that will hopefully result in Jagielka staying at Goodison.

David Moyes described Manchester City's pursuit of Lescott as "disgusting", with Everton desperately trying to keep a player who was always happy at the club until he had his had turned by the riches on offer at Eastlands.

As much as I liked Lescott as a player, and still think he is an outstanding defender, I couldn't help but cast an ironic smile when Joleon failed to make the England squad for this summer's World Cup and has subsequently been reported to have been told his place at City is under severe threat from the club's new signings.

Arsenal's approach for Jags couldn't be more different. The Gunners are a football club of genuine class which is reflected in the way they operate as a club, their manager Arsene Wenger and even in their style of play.

They too also know what it is like to be the victim of a club using back handed tactics to sign a player, as Barcelona's pursuit of Cesc Fabregas this summer has seen the Catalan club attempt to publicly attempt to bully Arsenal into a sale, with all manner of directors, staff and star players constantly airing their views that is only a matter of 'when' and not 'if' Fabregas returns to Barcelona.

This approach is well known to have infuriated Wenger and consequently it seems unlikely that the Arsenal manager would use similar tactics to Manchester City and Barcelona in his attempts to sign Jagielka.

There used to be a time in football when that would be that, and Everton saying that they do not want to sell the player would mean the end of the transfer, but everyone knows the power now lies with the players and this could be the other key difference between Jagielka and Lescott.

Lescott had no affiliation for Everton and clearly felt that he owed the club nothing by his actions when forcing through his move to Man City. Everton rejected a verbal and a written transfer request from Lescott and it was only when the player's negative attitude became a problem that David Moyes eventually agreed to the transfer.

Jagielka certainly doesn't strike me as the type of character that would follow Lescott's example.

Everton were quick to offer Jagielka a new five year contract soon after he ruptured his cruciate knee ligament last May and the Blues will hope that Jags will reward their faith in him by not demanding a move away from Goodison.

Also, although Jags is not a born and bred Evertonian, he does display a certain amount of gratitude and affection for the club. His track record at Sheffield United, where he could have moved on numerous times but instead decided to give the club the chance to match his ambitions, also suggests that Jags is not the mercenary that Lescott appeared to be.

Hopefully this will all mean that Jagielka stays and becomes a fixture at the heart of the Everton defence for the foreseeable future, he need only look at his ex-central defensive partner as an example of how leaving Everton can not turn out to be the right career move...no matter how much money you are paid.

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