by Kevin Henning

Newly installed Manchester United boss David Moyes has always tried to portray himself as a man of principles. Despite the limited budget on offer during his tenure at Goodison Park, Moyes never questioned his Everton board in public, choosing instead to bite his tongue, make do with his lot and search around the lower leagues in the hope of unearthing a bargain such as Tim Cahill or Phil Jagielka.

His morals have never been questioned. In the public eye, David Moyes has lived by the unwritten code of conduct that clubs are expected to follow. Respect the fact that clubs may occasionally not want to sell, don’t talk about players under contract elsewhere in a thinly veiled attempt to unsettle them. The following soundbite was a rant at the newest pantomime villains in the Premier League, Manchester City when former manager Mark Hughes had his heart set on capturing Moyes’ England centre half Joleon Lescott;

“There has not been one call to me. The way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupt our club and made it very difficult for us,” Moyes said.

“I think it’s correct to assume they’re trying to destabilise us because we are rivals. I think other football clubs should not talk about players from others clubs in the media. If you do that, you are destabilising the player or the club. I would hope I don’t do that.

“We have got to do what is right for our football club. What is right for us at this moment in time is that Joleon Lescott stays. He is a very important player for us, we rate him so highly.

“We have not got an abundance of centre halves, with Jagielka injured we don’t have many other options for the game against Arsenal, and you would have hoped that they would have seen that we said no and they would have respected the situation.”

Moyes made clear his beliefs that once a club has stated that a player is not for sale, they should be left alone to concentrate their efforts on doing their best for their current employers.

So when Barcelona’s vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu stated on Thursday that “Barça can ensure they will not entertain any offers for Cesc. He is completely non-transferable.”, one would have been forgiven for believing that, under Moyes’ own rules, Manchester United’s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas would have been stopped dead in it’s tracks.

Whether Moyes simply forgot about the Lescott affair, we’ll never know. What we do know though, is that Moyes was aware of the Catalan clubs stance. He said so in his press conference.

“As I understand it, Ed had a response [to the first bid],” said Moyes at a press conference in Yokohama.

“We have made a second offer but Ed is dealing with it rather than me.”

The Scot added: “When you’re interested in good players you want to give it every opportunity to materialise and I’ll do that. I hope things can continue and move forward.

“At this moment in time I can only tell you that Ed is working hard trying to make the deals happen. We can only hope that some of them fall into place shortly.”

So despite being a man of morals and understanding that when dealing with other clubs’ players, that no means no, David Moyes instructed his board to go back to Barcelona with an improved bid despite being told no only a day or two previously.

Has the new United gaffer lost his morals or has the change in his approach been the result of his new employers? This, don’t forget, is the club that Moyes tried in vain to fend off when they came knocking for Wayne Rooney nine years ago. A club who despite being told not to approach Dmitar Berbatov by Tottenham Hotspur, sent their manager personally to pick him up and drive him to Old Trafford. A club who went that extra mile in their pursuit of Auxerre defender Phillipe Mexes by having a United shirt printed with his name on. The same club that tapped up PSV Eindhoven defender Jaap Stam, not opinion, Stam himself opened that particular can of worms.

Has Moyes been subjected to the Manchester United way of doing things then? Has he been willing to go directly against his own morals in an attempt to please his pay masters? With Tottenham Hotspur declaring over the weekend that Gareth Bale isn’t for sale at any price, can we expect Moyes to respect the situation or will we see a United bid for the Welshman as well? I think we all know the answer to that.