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Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to win the Championship but relegated clubs have a very poor record of bouncing straight back – Simon Hopper analyses the best ante-post bets ahead of the new season.

Everton have confirmed they have confirmed that they have turned down Manchester City’s latest offer for Joleon Lescott.

City submitted an increased bid of £18m for the central defender – but the Toffees have turned down the offer.

Earlier this summer, the Eastlands club had a bid of £15m rejected, with Everton boss David Moyes adamant that no player would leave Everton this summer without his approval.

A club statement from the Goodison club on their official website read: ”We can confirm we have received an offer of £18m for Joleon Lescott from Manchester City and that offer has been rejected outright.”

Everton signed Lescott from Wolves in 2006 and the player has since become a regular in the England national squad.

City are keen to add Lescott, who can play in central defence or at left-back, to their expensively-assembled squad, having failed to land John Terry from Chelsea.

City are keen to strengthen their defence further after signing Kolo Touré from Arsenal, and they may yet return with a third offer for Lescott.

Reports had suggested that Everton were ready to consider a part-exchange deal involving Nedum Onouha, but that prospect now looks unlikely after the England Under-21 centre-half signed a new five-year contract with City yesterday.

Touré signed a four-year contract, becoming the club’s sixth summer signing after the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz and Stuart Taylor, in the process taking Hughes’s spending to £94m since the end of last season.

Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to win the Championship but relegated clubs have a very poor record of bouncing straight back – Simon Hopper analyses the best ante-post bets ahead of the new season.

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