Monday 27 February 2017

City owners playing hard ball over Tevez move

Tevez’s best hope of a move lies with Inter as Manchester City owners refuse to compromise over player with three years left on his contract

Ian Herbert

The Manchester City chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, believes that allowing Carlos Tevez to break his five-year contract would be a betrayal of the principles Abu Dhabi want at their club and has made no plea to the Argentinian to stay.

The loss of Tevez, in whom no clubs expressed interest yesterday despite him advertising his availability by announcing a desire to quit City late on Monday, would leave the club desperately short of proven strikers ahead of the new season.

But Mubarak, who has been at the hub of several telephone calls involving Tevez and his agent Kia Joorabchian, will only allow the forward to leave if a figure approaching City's £50m valuation is met.

Tevez may have a long wait to see if the Italian club most likely to give him an escape route from City -- Internazionale -- are ready to do so.

With Juventus confined to a season without even Europa League football, Inter and Milan are the only two clubs with the resources to bid for Tevez in Italy -- his destination of choice.

Milan already have a number of strikers -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Antonio Cassano, with the popular old-stager Filippo Inzaghi in reserve -- and the prevailing view in Italy is that the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, is the individual on whom Tevez is now dependent if he wants out. After his club won only the Italian Cup last season, which is considered of minimal value, Moratti is expected to feel the need to make one of the signings with which he likes to shock football.

He has said that he dreams of bringing Lionel Messi to the San Siro one day, but with that an even more unthinkable prospect at present than buying Cristiano Ronaldo -- the second player on his dream list -- then Tevez might be considered as the third.

Though Moratti has recently described Tevez's wage demands -- he earns £250,000 a week at City -- as "out of the question" and said the "market is crazy at the moment", the riches generated by his family's oil refining business do make Tevez's salary as achievable for Inter as for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan at City.

The presence at Inter of Tevez's Argentina team-mates Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso has heightened the appeal of the side to the striker.

But with no clubs responding immediately to the Tevez statement, City were certainly not exuding the mood of a side in any state of despair or panic. A City move for Atletico Madrid's Sergio Aguero cannot be ruled out, though sources suggest he has not been on their list of targets so far this summer.

Juventus were in Madrid yesterday meeting the Atletico chief executive, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, with a view to making a move of their own for the 23-year-old Argentinian.

The City manager, Roberto Mancini, suggested last week that a swap deal with Inter involving Samuel Eto'o had been explored, which suggests City interest in the Cameroonian. Napoli's Edinson Cavani has also been on the club's radar.

Though City have reminded the football world that Tevez is only two years into a five-year deal which no one forced him to sign, the big question is how far below £50m -- and perhaps how far below £40m -- a bid would need to be for the club to agree a deal?

With at least three City players having already indicated to Mancini that they do not want Tevez to be retained as captain next year, the corrosive effect of his indifference to the club is having an effect. There are few at any level of the club who would be distraught if the right price -- whatever that might be -- can be agreed and Tevez is released from what he claims is a personal torture.

The timing of Monday's statement, on the very day that City began their summer rebuilding with the £7m acquisition of Gael Clichy from Arsenal, has not gone unnoticed at Eastlands and is seen by some as a sign of the Argentinian's patent disinterest in City's progress.

Sources in Italy find it unthinkable that Tevez would even contemplate a move to Juventus if all else fails.

Juve have spent €75m in the past two transfer windows, but Udinese's Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler has rejected a move to Turin in favour of Napoli, because they have qualified for Champions League football. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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