No Wembley way for Tevez
Carlos Tevez is fully fit and desperate to play in Saturday's FA Cup final with Stoke City but he may be forced to start the match on the bench.
The Manchester City captain had made himself available for selection for last weekend's Premier League match away to Everton after making a remarkable recovery from a hamstring injury suffered three weeks earlier.
Tevez has worked intensively on his fitness -- first with his own physio in Italy, at the club's approval, and then back in Manchester. He has astonished City's medical staff with the level of fitness he has achieved, especially as they thought he would not recover in time.
Tevez was not included in last Saturday's squad and then played just the final few minutes of Tuesday's league fixture at home to Tottenham Hotspur, becoming embroiled in another touchline spat with manager Roberto Mancini.
With City expecting the 27-year-old to leave in the summer -- the club have already indicated that they are preparing for his departure and have suggested a fee of £50m is being demanded -- it's thought that he may be overlooked by Mancini.
City's valuation is partly based on the fee that Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres in January, while Mancini intends to hold talks with Tevez at the end of the season to decide his future.
A list of replacements has already been drawn up with City close to a deal to sign the Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez -- although they face competition from Manchester United -- and Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi.
In an interview published earlier this week, Mancini had suggested that Tevez had told him he wanted to move to Italy. However, that is not thought to be the case and the Argentinian has not expressed to his manager any desire to go although, it is believed, he remains unhappy.
Mancini had insisted that Tevez had to play some part against Spurs or it would be "impossible" to consider him for Wembley. As things stand, Tevez is expected to start among the substitutes with Mario Balotelli playing as a lone striker.
Despite Mancini's faith in Balotelli, who fulfilled the role in the semi-final victory over Manchester United, it would represent something of a gamble not to include the club's top-scorer if he is fit.
However Mancini, who has been under pressure this season and who will speak to the media tomorrow ahead of Saturday's final, has also spoken of the need for the other City players to be less reliant on Tevez, which has been interpreted in some quarters as preparing the ground for his departure.
Tevez may only be used as a substitute against Stoke at Wembley, although if he does take to the field then he will wear the captain's armband and lift the trophy should City win it. What is unclear is whether Tevez will be asked to collect the trophy, ahead of Vincent Kompany, if he does not play.
He took part in full training for the first time last week, including a practice match, and has stepped up his work since then without suffering any effects. Scans have shown that he is clear of the injury.
Tevez made clear his desire to leave Eastlands before Christmas, when he submitted a transfer request, when he also stated he had no problem with Mancini and which was subsequently withdrawn after "clear-the-air" talks with City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak. It was always suspected then that only an uneasy truce had broken out.
Tevez has not spoken publicly since about his intentions, although there has been some confusion over the number of times Mancini has discussed the player's future. In fairness to the manager, it is a subject he is often quizzed on.
On Tuesday, in a game that sealed City's qualification for the Champions League, Tevez spent most of the second half warming up. He had just taken his place back among the other substitutes when Mancini turned around, clearly annoyed, demanding to know why Tevez had sat down.
The player then quickly got ready -- having also shouted angrily back in the manager's direction -- and eventually came on to replace David Silva after 83 minutes. He received a rapturous reception from the City supporters and almost scored in the final minute.
If Tevez is to leave then a number of Europe's leading clubs would be interested in signing him. Chelsea have long tracked the player, although matters may be complicated by the expected departure of manager Carlo Ancelotti, while Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is a fan also.
Inter Milan have also long been linked with a move for Tevez, and it has even been claimed that a deal was in place, but that is understood to not be the case. Tevez has three years left on his current deal at Eastlands. (© Daily Telegraph, London)