Early Doors

City can’t afford to let Tevez go

Early Doors

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Carlos Tevez has again stated his desire to leave Manchester City, having previously announced he wanted to leave last December.

As the Mancunian gloom merchant Morrissey might put it - stop Early Doors if you've heard this one before. Nothing's changed, he still loves City, only slightly less than he used to.

However, this time he is citing very different reasons for why he wants to turn his back on Eastlands.

At the back end of last year, the Argentine striker claimed that his relationship with the City hierarchy was "beyond repair", stating: "My relationship with certain executives and individuals at the club has broken down. I do not wish to expand on this at this stage. They know, because I have told them.

"I wanted to leave in the summer, but was convinced to return to the club. Sadly, my feelings have not changed."

After an eight-day period which saw Roberto Mancini plead for his captain to stay and Tevez's pimp Kia Joorabchian to lay into City chief executive Garry Cook ("...has an inflated opinion of himself... it's all gone to his head"), the request was withdrawn - and Tevez went on to score another 14 goals for City in the second half of the season. Whatever his intentions, he certainly didn't betray them on the pitch, and he continued to scamper from pillar to post like a Labrador on heat in every match he played.

This time, however, he is citing family reasons as the root of his desire to move on after two years at Eastlands and a total of four years in Manchester.

"I hope that the people understand the difficult circumstances I have been living under the past 12 months, in regards to my family," the 27-year-old said in a statement, referring to his recent divorce and regular trips to and from Argentina to see his children.

"Living without my children in Manchester has been incredibly challenging for me. Everything I do, I do for my daughters, Katie and Florencia. I need to be closer to them and to spend more time with them."

For the time being, ED will forget about him laying into Manchester on an Argentine chat show last month, in which he slagged off his adopted home city because "there's nothing to do in Manchester. There's two restaurants and everything's small. It rains all the time, you can't go anywhere."

Things must be serious for Tevez to want to leave City. After all, he would be leaving a club which has just won the FA Cup, qualified directly for the Champions League and where he finished as the Premier League's joint-top scorer last term. And they have even just gone out and signed Gael Clichy. What more could you want?

Tevez is currently with the Argentina squad at the Copa America, hosted in his home country. His career could hardly be on a more upward trajectory. But, despite that, he wants out as soon as possible.

The big question now is: where will he go? Both Tevez and Joorabchian have always insisted his itchy feet are not motivated by money. If they were, he could go and join compatriot Dario Conca at Guangzhao Evergrande. The midfielder - Brazil's player of the year last season - has left Fluminense to join the Chinese club on a monster deal reportedly worth £9.6 million a year.

Tevez's need to be closer to his family would, logically, send him back to Argentina. However, his former club Boca Juniors would hardly be able to afford his salary, although their coffers have been boosted somewhat by Juan Roman Riquelme returning around £250,000 in wages to the club after he only played twice in their 2010 Apertura campaign. ED really misses Riquelme.

Boca's Buenos Aires neighbours River Plate have just been relegated, while the other top-flight clubs in the capital - Velez Sarsfield, Argentinos Juniors and San Lorenzo - would hardly be in the running.

Assuming his wages would also prohibit a return to Brazil - where he played at Corinthians before making the move to West Ham in 2006 - then Spain would seem the only option if he wants to move his family to a place where they can settle fully.

But if neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona want him, then he is bang out of options. Would he really move to Valencia, or Villarreal, even if they could afford him? This is the problem he faces in effectively conducting a transfer in reverse. How often does a player reveal his desire to leave a club without another offer already on the table, or at least a string of potential suitors from which to pick?

If he were now to end up in Italy, after struggling to master English despite spending five years in the Premier League, then it would dwarf the hypocrisy of Robbie Savage's move from Birmingham to Blackburn in order to be closer to his family in Wrexham (the Second City is closer by a couple of miles).

Those factors may yet give City hope that they can keep hold of their star striker - after all, he has pledged to leave before and they managed to make him stay - but it won't be easy. 

Mancini admitted this week that, due to UEFA's new Financial Fair Play rules, the club can no longer throw money around, outbidding their rivals by several million pounds in order to get their man. Witness the signing of Clichy, an eight-figure acquisition when they have previously had no qualms about paying over £20m for Kolo Toure or Joleon Lescott.

That may prohibit them from bringing in another top striker to fill Tevez's place. Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli are both yet to get close to justifying the huge fees which brought them to the club, while Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo all look as though they have played their last games for City.

For all the millions spent at Eastlands and the success it has bought, City's march towards the top looks like it will be stalled by one man's personal issues. Any remaining sympathy from the City faithful towards Tevez will be in even shorter supply if they start next season poorly. The club must do all it can to keep hold of him, otherwise the Sheikh Mansour project may be over just as it has truly begun.

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