Carlos Tevez’ potential return to Man City will continue to divide opinion

Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City bustles with talent but also has a sprinkling of fractious personas and subsequently rarely finds itself out of the headlines, a notion that looks set to evolve with the impending return of Carlos Tevez.

The latter may feel like his manager treated him “like a dog” (see BBC Sport) but the striker is still contracted to the club and his Italian manager has named him in his 25-man squad for the remainder of this season. His footballing exile reflects one of the most elongated battles between a Premier League club and a player since the league began, but after Mancini seemingly cast the Argentine aside, it now seems the plausibility of a controversial return is ever-growing. Tevez has not played for City since that night in Munich – after his manager accused him of not wanting to come off the bench – in their Champions League clash at the end of September. In the intervening period City have reached the summit of the Premier League so Mancini must be sure the striker’s return is best for the club as gauging reaction from the remainder of the squad will be difficult, and the desired effect could then be reversed.

Tevez has managed just 92 Premier League minutes this term and lost the role of club captain to Vincent Kompany. If he can rediscover his fitness however, the impact a fully-functioning Tevez could have on a title race, which has thus far depicted a pendulum swinging across Manchester, should not be underestimated. Since their sparkling 5-1 demolition of Norwich City at the start of December, City have scored just 16 goals in 11 league games and have lost some of their early season affluence, which saw them register 27 goals in their first eight games.

Together with the return of Yaya Toure, having Tevez available again, could to a certain degree be likened to signing two new players in the January transfer window. Tevez made his name in English football by producing flashes of brilliance and his relentless work ethic, something that can be so priceless when his side need industrial-like performances away from home. None of Mancini’s current strikers naturally adopt that approach. There are some who oppose his return however, none more than ex-goalkeeper Joe Corrigan who made his feelings clear in an interview with BBC Sport: “It will all boil down to whether the player and manager Roberto Mancini can come to an agreement, but no-one is bigger than the club.” Those who are against his return generally centre their thoughts on the potential disruption that a returning Tevez could have on City’s dressing room morale, morale that continues to ascend in his absence.

Essentially, there is no denying that Tevez’ return could be just the injection Man City need to wrestle the domestic crown from their bitter rivals, but conversely, and due to the sheer nature of the whole tedious affair, his return could be ill-timed. Either way it will certainly continue to divide opinion for the foreseeable future.

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