Carlos Tevéz facing race to be fit for Manchester United clash
Carlos Tevéz has been given permission to return to Argentina for "three to four days" by Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini after being told he is likely to miss next month’s potentially-explosive Manchester derby due to injury.
Tevéz, who left United for City in an acrimonious transfer in July 2009, is facing at least two weeks on the sidelines after scans highlighted unexpected damage to the thigh injury sustained during the 3-0 defeat against Arsenal at Eastlands on Sunday.
Initial expectations that the injury would only rule Tevéz out of Saturday’s trip to Wolves have been revised and City fear he may still be sidelined for the home game against Birmingham on Nov 13.
The Argentine forward is City’s top scorer this season, with seven Premier League goals so far, and his absence against United at Eastlands on Nov 10 will be a huge blow to Mancini’s hopes of securing a crucial victory against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
Tevéz scored three times against his former club last season and the 26 year-old was embroiled in a war of words with United captain Gary Neville, who he labelled a ‘moron’ and a ‘boot-licker’ following his former team-mate’s insistence that Ferguson was right not to meet the financial terms required to keep Argentine at Old Trafford.
But sources close to Tevéz have confirmed that the player is facing a battle to be fit for the United clash — a game which is likely to see the return from injury of Wayne Rooney, whose dalliance with a move to City last week preceded his decision to sign a new five-year contact at United.
City manager Mancini has admitted previously this season that Tevéz’s workload has become a cause for concern at Eastlands, with the player appearing in all nine Premier League games, plus three Europa League ties.
Prior to Tevéz’s setback, Mancini had been keen to rest the player in order to avoid the risk of injury and it is understood that the Italian has agreed to a period of rest to prevent further problems.
The two men have endured a difficult relationship since Mancini replaced Mark Hughes as manager last December, with Tevéz complaining about the intensity of Mancini’s training methods before clashing with the manager during the half-time interval of City’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle earlier this month.
But with the striker’s close friend and City team-mate Roque Santa Cruz revealing on Tuesday that Tevéz is battling against homesickness and a sense of detachment from his family in Buenos Aires, Mancini has granted the player a brief period of compassionate leave in Argentina before returning to England for treatment.
The player has consistently spoken of his desire to return to former club Boca Juniors before the end of his career, but with three-and-a-half years remaining on his current contract, City are confident that Tevéz will remain part of their squad for the foreseeable future.
Tevéz is expected to arrived in South America later today, with City making it clear that he is due back at their Carrington training ground to begin his rehabilitation next Monday.
With Tevéz unavailable, Mancini is likely to hand Emmanuel Adebayor the opportunity to reclaim a regular starting position due to concerns over the fitness of Italian forward Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli, an August arrival from Inter Milan, made his Premier League debut against Arsenal after being sidelined for two months following knee surgery, but Mancini is reluctant to risk the 20 year-old before he is fully fit.
Santa Cruz, who has admitted he is keen to pursue a move to Spain in January, could also be handed a reprieve after making just one appearance so far this season during the Carling Cup defeat against West Brom.
The games striker is set to miss
Wolves (Oct 30, away)
Should be a routine fixture for City, even without their top scorer and captain.
Lech Poznan (Nov 4, away)
Polish champions could take advantage if City are under-strength in this Europa League group game.
West Brom (Nov 7, away)
Roberto Di Matteo’s men have already beaten City in the Carling Cup this season.
Man Utd (Nov 10, home)
Should be a quieter night, but only just, if Tévez misses out against his former club.
Birmingham (Nov 13, home)
Alex McLeish’s team have their limitations but are still more than capable of frustrating a City side without their star forward.