Sunday 20 May 2018

Carlos Tévez: transfer request to leave Manchester City 'is not about money'

Jason Burt

Carlos Tévez spelled it out in capital letters. "This is not about money," the striker is understood to have told Manchester City in an email when the club offered him the chance not just to renegotiate his contract but collect a substantial one-off bonus, thought to be about £5m.

His state of mind, having submitted a transfer request, will not have been helped by the club’s highly aggressive stance on Sunday. In their statement they blamed the submission on his representative, Kia Joorabchian (without naming him) and clearly implied that the crisis had been caused by a denial of more cash to Tévez.

Time will tell on that one. The Argentine’s determination to quit Eastlands will be tested to the full in the coming weeks and if, somehow, he eventually signs a new improved deal – without changes being made to the way City are run – then it will prove that this was, indeed, just about money.

But the strong sense on Sunday — and City were not denying he had been offered a bonus which he refused – was that this was about something quite different.

Tévez’s camp are also furious at City’s suggestion that it was their initiative to demand a new contract — instead, it was insisted, they were asked to persuade Tévez to stay after he made clear he wanted to go in July.

And then, once that was achieved, however temporarily, the plan for contract negotiations also came from the club.

Those negotiations reached an impasse in October with an offer and counter-suggestion and, after that, under Tévez’s instruction, it was decided to wait to see what transpired next summer.

In the meantime, however, the clumsy offer of a bonus had played on his mind, fuelled by the feelings he already had that he was unhappy at City and needed not only to sort out his private life but where his life was heading.

Tévez has issues with manager Roberto Mancini and chief executive Garry Cook but, above all, it is the fact his former partner and children live back in Argentina that have caused such a strain that he has even contemplated retiring from football.

City cannot afford to lose their captain, top scorer and talisman — at least not in January. It may be that they will try and hold a meeting with him and his representative this week to see if they can patch things up until the summer.

That may also have to involve a more conciliatory approach from Mancini.

One series of incidents appeared to sum up not only Tévez’s fragile relationship with Mancini but the striker’s state of mind.

With Tévez in turmoil, he returned to Buenos Aires to nurse his thigh injury. The club appeared understanding, but when Tévez then answered a call to come back earlier than expected, to play against West Bromwich Albion, because of a poor run of results and with Mancini under pressure, he was angered by what then happened.

Tévez played the full 90 minutes, despite asking to be substituted because his thigh was sore, but was then withdrawn against Birmingham and then more recently against Bolton.

On both occasions he showed a dissent that exposed the rift between him and Mancini. City’s attack on Sunday will not help, although Tévez will continue playing until his future is resolved.

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