Everton have blocked Manchester City's £15million bid for defender Joleon Lescott and are adamant they will not be selling anyone from their first-team squad.
Lescott has been linked with City for over a month and their executive chairman Garry Cook admitted earlier this week that he was a player that manager Mark Hughes "loved".
Everton received an improved bid of over £20million on Thursday, and on Friday made their response, with chief executive Robert Elstone saying: "As a club, we have publicly stated that we do not intend selling any players. David Moyes' primary focus is on building a squad so that we can continue to compete effectively in what is the most competitive league in world football."
Cook's declared interest in Lescott is in sharp contrast to Hughes' comments that "people can see we are trying to do our business in the correct manner and the polite way; we're not trying to shout from the rooftops and throwing our resources in people's faces".
Everton know that this is only the first skirmish in what could be a lengthy battle they do not have the resources to win.
Although Everton have just announced record turnover of approaching £80million for the recently completed season, they do have a growing debt with owner Bill Kenwright making it plain that the only way they can compete with the giants of the game is to acquire major outside investment.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms