Rumblings of Carlos Tevez’ discontent at Manchester City started all the way back in October 2010 when former City striker, and fellow South-American, Roque Santa Cruz told the world Tevez is homesick and wants to go home. At the time I imagined Tevez sitting on the sofa in his mansion, sobbing in to £20 notes whilst chanting through the tears ‘I wanna go home, I wanna go hoooooommmmmmeeeee, Manchester’s a sh*t hole, I wanna go home’ (No offence Mancunian’s). There is no doubt Manchester is a far cry from his kids and the golf courses and beaches of Buenos Aires, but £200k per week should have been enough to soften the blow.
We have come along way from the initially plausible ‘homesick’ excuse and have endured many saga’s which culminated in Tevez refusing to play for the club and since then the situation descended in to chaos; we have watched Tevez AWOL in Argentina and read the daily transfer speculation of the ‘will he/won’t he’ saga that filled the national newspapers back pages throughout January. This was a classic power battle between ‘Player Power’ and institutional strength and is another very rare occasion where the club have won most of the battles, and now after Tevez’s public apology, seemingly the war.
Tevez flew back to the UK after seeing his hopes of a transfer vanish in the face of Manchester City’s defiance over the transfer fee and terms of the deal they wanted for the player. Tevez, despite being so mentally damaged and traumatised by this whole episode, came out of sunbathing/relaxing/sulking and has made himself available again for City after issuing the following apology:
“I wish to apologise sincerely and unreservedly to everybody I have let down and to whom my actions over the last few months have caused offence. My wish is to concentrate on playing football for Manchester City Football Club.”
After such a sincere and heartfelt apology, how can he not be welcomed back with open arms?! With out the editing of a PR team, Tevez’s actual statement would have read something like this:
“I didn’t get the transfer I wanted, I need more money and want to play football. I am sorry, but only because I was told to be.”
It is amazing how such a well scripted apology from his agent has gone down, seemingly all is forgotten and he is free to be selected for City as soon as he is fully fit. Forget Mancini saying ‘he will never play for this club again’ or ‘will he play with me? No he is finished’ or ‘if we want to improve as a team or as a squad, Carlos cannot play with us’, all very big and definitive statements…well at the time, it seemed that way.
You can understand Manchester City’s and Roberto Mancini’s position, regardless of Mancini’s comments made in the heat of the moment or the hard line Manchester City took in the face of such unconventional actions from Tevez. Manchester City paid £25million for Tevez, that is a large investment, especially when you add on to that the amount other fees and wages that he has been paid since he signed for he club in July 2009.
Manchester City want a return on their investement-Tevez is simply a business asset, an asset that is slowly decreasing in value as it ages, but rapidly decreases in value as it doesn’t play. With the Financial Fair Play rules now governing clubs finances, shifting Tevez for top dollar in summer will probably be a priority, bringing in a large fee and freeing up such big wages gives City more room to manoeuvre in the transfer market, which maybe they couldn’t do in January with Tevez still on the books.
Mancini is in one of the most high pressure jobs in the world; his mandate at City is to win as many trophies as possible, this seasons opportunity is the Premier League. Mancini needs big players who are world-class, who have experienced winning titles, the type of players suitable for a title run-in, the type Mancini highlighted he needed in January, but only one new face arrived. Tevez can make a difference. The return of the troublesome and temperamental Argentine may well be a blessing in disguise for City.
‘At what cost does Tevez’ return come at?’ is one big question – surely he can’t do all that he has and just waltz back in and all is forgiven? Apparently he can.
People could say Manchester City have showed they are weak after letting him back in, but they aren’t really. They have fined the player, not paid him whilst he was AWOL (rightly so), rejected all bids in January that didn’t match their strict terms for his transfer, whilst also threatening him with the possibility of him not playing for two years as he is under contract…all-in-all a strong response.
People could say Mancini has lost face in all of this after backtracking on his initial damning comments (see above), well not really, his stance has no doubt softened, but it is hardly like his actions give the message that he is not a strong leader or that he has not sent out a strong message to other players in the squad. How many fans will soften there stance as Tevez returns?
Some may even question whether the return of Carlos Tevez could damage team morale-this looks highly unlikely due to the fact that some of the main squad members haven’t been effected by his actions, don’t take it personally, and have openly welcomed him back, as long as he apologies. Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero, James Milner, Joleon Lescott, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure are just some of the first team squad that have publically backed Tevez’ return.
In the long term neither football clubs, their managers nor players act on prolonged emotion and believe in sentiment, this is a business, a business of winning and success and Tevez only enhances Manchester City’s chances of doing that this season.
The only group that will have any honest reaction to the return of Tevez is the fans. Fans do act on emotion and sentiment, us fans can be judge and jury on such matters and where Tevez will be received in a professional and business like manner by Mancini and his squad, the fans will no doubt have mixed reactions.
Some will welcome him as they see how he can be important in bringing success to the club. Others will feel he has betrayed the club they love and doesn’t deserve to wear the shirt as their Tevez replica kit remains firmly in the trash. How long the latter view lasts for depends on how quickly Tevez returns to goal scoring ways…us football fans are fickle, most City fans would do anything so that the blue half of Manchester can claim a victory over the red half. There is almost a certain irony if Tevez is the one to help secure City’s first Premier League title.
Despite Tevez’ recent claims during an Argentinean TV interview that Tevez had been ‘treated like a dog’ and that he thinks he has ‘nothing to apologise for’, it is hardly tough times to have to go and play for a club that are top of the best league in the world, will pay you £200k per week for the privilege and will have you back despite all you have done. For the sake of his career, Tevez knows the bottom line is he needs to play. The truth is, City need Tevez as much as Tevez needs City.