EVERTON manager David Moyes admits his last-minute sale of Mikel Arteta to Arsenal may have sent out the wrong signals to both his squad and Barclays Premier League rivals.
The Toffees allowed the Spaniard to move to the Gunners after a £10million bid came in on deadline day and the player asked to leave.
Moyes has stressed he has no intention of allowing Everton to become a selling club while he is in charge.
But with the likes of Phil Jagielka and Marouane Fellaini both having attracted interest previously he knows the Arteta deal may be perceived as a weakness which some players and clubs could look to exploit.
"It could do. It could set a precedent," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"I accept that but on this occasion I thought it was the right one to do."
Midfielder Jack Rodwell is keen for Fellaini, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, to stick around as he believes he can forge a strong partnership with the 23-year-old Belgium international.
The pair did well together in central midfield in Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa and the 20-year-old hopes that is just the beginning.
"If that is a partnership that works and people like then maybe that can be the partnership for the season," he told evertontv.
"But I know there are a lot of good central midfielders at the club so I am taking nothing for granted.
"I am still developing as a player. It seems a long time ago I made my debut (in 2007) and I do feel as though I have come on an awful lot as a player.
"But I am still only 20 and hopefully I can continue learning and getting better.
"I probably play best as a central midfielder in a two or a three. I can sit and defend or I can get forward as well but I like to get box-to-box."