escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast."
Ron Burgundy may have
been talking about a bloody fight with a rival news crew in 'Anchorman', but it
applies equally to Carlos Tevez's fall-out with Manchester City, which has
blown up spectacularly in the last 36 hours.
He handed in a transfer
request, City rejected it, then posted a chippy statement on their website,
before Tevez hit back saying his relationship with the club's hierarchy was
broken beyond repair. Yikes.
When Tevez crossed
Manchester in 2009, we wondered what he would have to do to repair his
relationship with the United fans. This ought to do it.
The Anchorman fight
ended with a man getting stabbed in the heart with a trident. It's a long shot
in the Tevez saga, but you can never say never in football.
Let's take a look
at what is really going on.
WHAT IS TEVEZ'S MOTIVE?
1- The Lost Soul
This, to ED, is the most palatable solution. Despite the money, the adulation
and the goals, Tevez is simply not happy in England.
He has never mastered the language, he misses his children
in Argentina, and that snood tells you everything about his view of the weather
There's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of fulfilment in
life beyond football stardom, even if it won't sit well with the City fans who pay
(some of) his £200,000-a-week wages.
He has mooted a return to Boca Juniors and even retirement
several times. If he were to return to Argentina, it would serve as a lesson
that money isn't everything, and nobody would mind THAT much. Would they?
2- The Puppet
This is the image portrayed by City's statement on Sunday,
which so infuriated Tevez. The striker said "I hugely resent" the
club's suggestion he was being unduly influenced by his representative Kia
Joorabchian - although he did say this in a statement released by a PR company
in a standard of English far beyond Tevez's grasp.
The theory is that Joorabchian is deliberately unsettling
Tevez, hoping to provoke another big-money move, thereby securing a tidy
commission for himself. A slice of signing on fee would also do nicely, hence
City's claim he was demanding a new contract for Tevez while the player himself
wanted out of the club.
The problem with this is that, since Joorabchian no longer
owns Tevez's playing rights, he is no more than a regular football agent - not
a breed of angels, admittedly, but there is no reason why Tevez should be more
of a puppet than any other player.
Mind you, if Tevez ends up being sold to the highest bidder, City may feel they
had some justification for calling out Joorabchian.
3- 'Rooney ' mk II
There is a theory - one roundly rejected by Wayne Rooney and
Manchester United - that Rooney's transfer request was merely a device to
squeeze more money out of United in contract negotiations.
He said he wanted out, United 'miraculously' convinced him
to stay and he got a fat new deal for his troubles. Or so goes the story.
Likewise, there is a school of thought that Team Tevez are
attempting a similar trick on City, who (quite sensibly) refused to open
contract talks during the season, especially when the player has three and a
half years left on his current deal.
But nothing concentrates minds like a big public bust-up and
the thought that your best player could be on his way to a rival club.
4- The megalomaniac
Tevez may have cited homesickness in the past, but his
statement yesterday focused on "certain
executives and individuals" at the club with whom his relationship broken
He was quick to point out that
he had no problem with Roberto Mancini, Sheikh Mansour or the fans. Which, by
process of elimination alone, leaves chief executive Garry Cook as the bookies'
favourite as the target of Tevez's ire.
But hang on a second. Cook does
have a habit of making crass statements (the best of which remains: "Richard Dunne doesn't roll off the tongue in Beijing"),
but what on earth makes Tevez think he should have any sort of relationship
with Cook or any of the club's executives?
He's a football player, for
pity's sake, and he's got an agent to talk to the suits. If he is trying to
influence club policy at boardroom level, it's no wonder he's getting short
shrift. Do your job.
Verdict: ED hopes the right
answer is 1. It suspects a combination of 1, 2 and 4 contributing to a general
unhappiness with life at City.
WHERE WILL HE END UP?
The Rooney farrago shows how quickly these things can be resolved if everyone wants thm to be.
Strange that a club with unlimited resources would be so reliant on a single player, but they are. And Tevez's increasingly prima donna-ish behaviour isn't helping his transfer value any.
Roman Abramovich has kept his
wallet close to his chest in recent years, but maintains that if the right
player comes along, there will be money to spend.
Whatever Tevez's attitude off the
field, he is a dervish on it, and Chelsea have not got enough credit for
settling Nicolas Anelka down since his arrival in 2008.
How hilarious would that be?
United still clearly need a player like Tevez, and he has shown at City he is worth
the £25m Fergie declined to spend on him.
He would only have to put on a
red shirt to win the fans back over, and although he has clashed with Gary
Neville - who hasn't clashed with Gary Neville?
They're loaded (in the Spanish sense that they are in debt but can get as much finance as they want - a bit like early-2000s Ireland, really) and they could do with an extra striker - Karim Benzema is
clearly not a Jose Mourinho favourite and Gonzalo Higuain is handy but not in
Mourinho has tamed a few egos in
his time, plus Tevez would be in a country where he could speak his mother
tongue. And wouldn't that Ronaldo reunion be lovely?
The Serie A champs are in freefall, with an ageing squad that lacks a spark.
Plus they have scored a paltry 20 goals in 15 games.
Tevez solves all of the above
problems, and Inter head honcho Massimo Moratti is a known admirer. Plus Rafa
Benitez is a great man manager. No, really.
Tevez has said he wanted to
return to Boca when he was 28. He will be 27 in February. If he has personal
problems or is homesick, why not just return home and be happy?
Also, if he's interested in
boardroom influence, Boca may well make him captain, manager and chief exec.
Anything to secure his signature.
Verdict: We know that City are prepared
to pay massive sums to secure players, so why wouldn't the reverse be true when
Money isn't really an issue for
them - the most important thing is that Tevez doesn't end up at a rival club.
Would they accept £50m from
Chelsea or £10m from Boca? Selling him to Stamford Bridge could set City back
seasons, so surely they would absorb the financial hit and send him home?
If an English club is out of the
question, it looks like a toss-up between City, Real Madrid and Boca Juniors - where
Tevez ends up depends entirely on his true motivation.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Ian Holloway is the gift that keeps on giving. Here he is
on how Blackpool have coped with their frozen training ground: "We have
been in the casino, been in the gym and on the beach. We were there on
Thursday. It was brilliant. You have got to adapt.
"We had a poker tournament and the lads were given £20 each
to see who was the champion. We gave a lesson to the ones who don't play.
"The boys were looked after and our goalie fell asleep. I
don't think he likes cards. Ian Evatt was the winner. He must have had a
how could any footballer give less than 100 per cent for that man?
FOREIGN VIEW: Spanish fans will be spluttering into their café con leche this
morning when they read Jose Mourinho's claim that Spanish officials are
victimising Real Madrid.
"That's football and it happens to us a lot," said
"It's very easy to show yellow cards to Real Madrid players
and not as many to others. It annoys me that there are players from other clubs
who can protest and we can't.
"In the same way that you have coaches who can leave their
technical area and others not."
Yes, that's right, Real have a long and illustrious history of
getting harsh treatment from officials.
COMING UP: You haven't forgotten, have you? It's Manchester
United v Arsenal
at 20:00 UK time. Always a chance of some aggro, and who know, maybe a football
match will break out?