Since arriving in England with Javier Mascherano as a surprise West Ham United signing, Carlos Tevez has rarely been out of the spotlight. This week Tevez was again at the centre of a storm, when he allegedly refused to appear as a second-half substitute during City’s 2-0 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.
Quite often Tevez’s name has made headlines for the right reasons – scoring the goals to keep the Hammers in the Premier League, switching to Manchester United and netting 35 goals in 99 games while at Old Trafford, and then bettering that ratio at Manchester City having swapped red for blue. It is the sort of record that virtually guarantees Tevez will have plenty of suitors should Roberto Mancini, the City manager, get his wish that the forward is “finished”
Tevez’s actions – or lack of action, perhaps – render the situation as close to irreversible as football is likely to see. But just as Tevez’s track record promises, there is always the possibility that the two sides will patch things up – last December Tevez was determined to leave Manchester, but fences were mended, albeit temporarily. The situation that developed during the Bayern Munich game is unprecedented, however, and even a character as complex as Tevez – and a club as tumultuous as City – would struggle to find a path to reunification now.
If Tevez’s future does lie away from Manchester, as appears certain, there are only a handful of clubs in world football that could afford the forward and his substantial wages, not to mention whatever transfer fee City were minded to demand. The petro-dollars of Paris Saint-Germain and Malaga have been mooted as possibilities, despite neither fulfilling Tevez’s need to move closer to Buenos Aires, although Malaga’s Spanish location could make life easier for the Tevez clan.
Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia are well-financed but even more remote than Manchester. A move to Inter was strongly mooted in pre-season, with the preponderance of compatriots at the San Siro making the Neazzurri almost an Argentinean enclave, and the arrival of Claudio Ranieri could re-open the door for Tevez. A return to Brazil with Corinthians or Argentina itself with Boca Juniors also remains possible. As for City, they are arguably the only club that could afford to lose Tevez both in terms of players already at the club able to step in, and the possibility of buying a replacement.
There is a temptation to draw parallels between the circumstances now and of nearly a year ago, when Tevez put in a transfer request, citing “a breakdown in relationship with certain executives at the club,” as well as family reasons, for his desperation to go elsewhere.
At the time, having dismissed the request as “ludicrous and nonsensical” according to an unnamed senior official, it was reported that City would force the striker to stay, and stay he did. Tevez also added at the time that he had “no personal issue” with Mancini. Therein lies the key difference between the situation then and now and one which adds another twist to this drawn-out and increasingly undignified story.