Thursday 8 December 2016

John Giles: Manchester United need to forget Gareth Bale and sign Carlos Tevez

Published 15/05/2015 | 13:10

Juventus' Argentinian forward Carlos Tevez
Juventus' Argentinian forward Carlos Tevez

IT was wonderful to see Juventus reassert Serie A's credentials in the Champions League for the first time in five years. The game needs Italian football to recover and flourish.

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There were several really interesting sub-plots in play during the second leg of Juve's semi-final with Real Madrid but the most heartening aspect of the game for me was the reward their manager, Massimiliano Allegri, gets for doing a major job in Turin.

Serie A is done and dusted for the fourth consecutive year and Allegri has managed all of this working within the restrictions placed on him by Italian football's slow spiral towards mediocrity.

On the last few years, there have been signs that Serie A is finding its feet again with new stadiums planned and money beginning to arrive from foreign owners. But Allegri has nothing like the resources available to Carlo Ancelotti or his opposite number in the final, Luis Enrique.

He does have one man who I would put in my team every day. Carlos Tevez never changes an ounce. He gives everything he has and when he's on song that is a great deal indeed.

I thought there was a nice comparison to be made between Tevez and Gareth Bale over the two games which told us that talent alone doesn't guarantee success.

I love Tevez's attitude and for as long as I live I will never understand why Alex Ferguson let him leave Old Trafford. I know there was a big issue over finance but surely his gut instinct was the same as mine.

I have never seen Tevez give less than every ounce of energy he has once he's on the pitch, and to be honest, I'm don't care too much what he is like off it.

Tevez is seen as a difficult character but it should not be difficult for any manager to pick him. He must have great inner strength to be able to go out on the pitch and do the same thing in every match no matter how he feels or what is happening in his personal life.

The Manchester United saga was all about money but all the while, Tevez continued to score goals, continued to do his job to the best of his ability.

Bale clearly is not playing to the best of his ability and his skills are of the all or nothing variety. Tevez grafts, runs the miles and sniffs out his chances where feet are flying in and around the box.

Bale is not the same character as Tevez who is as he looks. He's a bulldog, a fighter and a man who you would like beside you in a dark alley if you ran into trouble. The Welshman seems like a more delicate soul but even a man made of steel would struggle in an environment created by Cristian Ronaldo's ruthless disdain.

I have sympathy for Bale who is in the middle of some intense politics. First and most important is Ronaldo's relentless grip on power but the dynamic between Ancelotti and his emplyers is very relevant here too.

The gossip at the moment is that Ancelotti wanted to drop Bale but his betters insist that their £100m investment plays. This story was given some weight by the Italian's observation after losing to Juventus that he didn't know whether he would be the manager at the Bernabeu next season.

I don't think Bale is cut out for that kind of wheeling and dealing and I think his game has suffered because of the negative spotlight aimed at him by Ronaldo.

He is getting some serious abuse from fans now and there does seem to be a momentum pushing him back to England.

The stories around Louis van Gaal and Manchester United's interest in Bale have now been running for a year, and from all the evidence I have seen, forking out £80m with a salary to match wouldn't phase the Dutchman for one second.

With Champions League football in the bag, Van Gaal can ask for anything he wants. In form and comfortable with his surroundings, Bale would be a great buy but Van Gaal would save himself a lot of money and correct Ferguson's mistake if he made Juventus an offer they couldn't refuse for Tevez.

Herald

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