Everton manager Sam Allardyce has hit out at the Premier League for scheduling a round of fixtures on transfer deadline day, claiming that five of his first-team stars' performances could have been seriously affected after their agents contacted the Toffees about potential loan deals.
A brace from Theo Walcott helped Allardyce's side to clinch a much-needed 2-1 win over Leicester City, who had to contend with the unwanted distraction of Manchester City's pursuit of Riyad Mahrez on deadline day. The Algeria international tried his best to force a big-money move to the Premier League leaders but his wish was not granted by the Foxes, who chose not to include him in their squad for the visit to Goodison Park on Wednesday (31 January).
Everton produced a much-improved performance against Claude Puel's side and in turn secured themselves three precious points, but Allardyce, who bid farewell to Ademola Lookman and Muhamed Besic on deadline day, was left fuming by unwanted enquiries from five of his players' agents about the possible availability of their associated stars.
"We were hit with that severe blow of the deadline and having to play tonight," Allardyce said, per the Liverpool Echo.
"I'll tell you this, that five of our players in the squad today (Wednesday) their agents had called to see if they could go out on loan. So it was obvious the player knew, as well as us dealing with it which was never going to happen that we were going to let any of those go.
"But it is upsetting, it's not right, it disturbs the players, it hasn't disturbed us today, it's not affected the result I'm glad to say, but it could easily have done so.
"It's up to our bosses to sort it out. Every boss at every football club should sit at the AGM and say: 'Look, you've got to stop doing this to our managers and our football club'.
"Unless they sort that out at the AGM, which they clearly haven't, they clearly let the Premier League go and they clearly vote for it, if they want us to give and deliver they can't put us in a game on the final day."
The identity of the aforementioned quintuplet is not known but, while Allardyce had no interest in parting with any of those included in his 18-match squad, Everton did sanction deals for a number of other peripheral players on the final day of the transfer window.
Young attacker Lookman completed his rather left-field loan move to Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig, while out-of-favour midfielder Muhamed Besic joined Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.
Under-23 goalkeeper Louis Gray also left for Carlisle United on a temporary deal, but Everton did manage to get a deal for City defender Eliaquim Mangala over the line - the Frenchman put pen-to-paper on a loan deal which includes an option to buy at the end of the season.