Everton have dismissed as “ludicrous” claims they did not want to keep departed midfielder Dan Gosling.
The Merseysiders have been angered by suggestions from Gosling’s agent they were complacent over contract negotiations with the 20-year-old and they assumed an injury would make him unattractive to other clubs.
Gosling joined Newcastle this week after exploiting a technicality that made him a free agent.
Ordinarily clubs are entitled to a fee for any player under 24 but Everton’s failure to make Gosling a written offer of a new deal by a mid-May deadline meant Newcastle could swoop without paying compensation.
Everton thought they had a verbal agreement in place with Gosling and have been saddened by the way events have unfolded.
A club statement read: “In the wake of a report in a Sunday newspaper in which the agent of Dan Gosling made a series of allegations, Everton Football Club has decided to take the unprecedented step of setting straight a record of recent events which has, in its opinion, been deliberately distorted.
“In the article, Mr David Hodgson suggested that not only did this club not wish to extend Mr Gosling’s stay at Goodison Park but that it had been deliberately tardy with regard to the formal offer of a new contract, presuming that an injury sustained by the player during the course of last season was of such a serious nature it would prevent him from signing for another club.
“Both claims are ludicrous, totally without substance and grossly misleading.”
Gosling, who joined Everton from Plymouth two-and-a-half years ago, suffered a serious knee injury in March which is likely to rule him out for the first half of next season.
Everton insist they had several conversations with Hodgson over a new deal and were told their “handshake agreement” was “fine”.
The statement added: “It was Everton’s understanding that this gentleman’s agreement would guarantee that the player would extend, by at least two years, the three-year deal he signed upon his arrival from Plymouth Argyle.”
Everton have now accused Hodgson of exploiting the rules to ensure Gosling became a free agent.
Chief executive Robert Elstone said: “We wanted Dan Gosling to stay with us - and, after what we had been told, we expected him to stay with us.
“However, in the first week in June, Mr Hodgson rang David Moyes seemingly content that he had manoeuvred a situation where Dan was a free agent.”
Manager Moyes has also admitted he feels let down over the affair.
Moyes said: “We feel aggrieved that they have contrived a situation to get the player out of the club when, if he had come and said that he wanted to leave, we could at least have done something about it – but at no point did Dan say he wished to leave.”
Chairman Bill Kenwright added: “In the very long history of our club, our executive team have never once forgotten or neglected to deal properly and professionally with contractual matters.
“We place our trust in people; we always keep our side of any offered deal - and all we have ever asked is that others do the same.”
A Premier League tribunal acknowledged Gosling’s right to a free transfer.
“Dan Gosling did not walk out on Everton, they chose not to keep him,” Hodgson was quoted as saying at the weekend.
“Everton had an obligation to offer him a contract in writing by the third Saturday in May.
“They could have offered him one pound more than his old contract and could have kept him or got a fee for him at a tribunal.
“I rang Dan that day to ask if he had got the letter. It hadn’t arrived. He wasn’t jumping around the room in delight because he was a free agent. He was broken-hearted, in tears.”
Moyes added Gosling would have been well rewarded had he chosen to stay at Goodison Park.
Moyes said: “I read at the weekend that he cried when he didn’t receive a formal, written offer.
“Well, trust me, the money Everton were offering was certainly not a crying matter.”