Manchester city were last night heading towards a rejection of Corinthians' improbable £35.3m bid for Carlos Tevez, with comments from a director of the Brazilian club heightening anxieties that they will simply not be able to pay for the striker.
City were in talks to discuss the offer last night, but Corinthians' vice-director of football Duilio Alves earlier said the price being asked for Tevez was "an absurd figure, unviable for the Brazilian football market" and suggested a loan deal.
City, who feel that the financing of any such transfer would be complicated, are highly likely to dismiss the idea of a loan. There is also uncertainty at City about whether the bid is entirely Corinthians', or rather that of Tevez's representative Kia Joorabchian, who once owned the club.
Corinthians implied they had been quoted a £49m price for Tevez, a figure the club's vice-director of football Duilio Alves said was too high.
"It would have to be a loan. We cannot buy him," Alves added. "His intention exists. If one day it is possible, Corinthians are interested. It is not impossible. It is a dream we are trying to make true."
The statement Tevez's representatives issued last week, outlining his desire to leave, has prompted City to search for a replacement and as discussions with a leading agency took place late last week, Atletico Madrid's Sergio Aguero emerged as a target.
But there have been no moves for the 23-year-old Argentine. Aguero wants to stay in Madrid, making Real Madrid favourites for his signature.
Time is not on Corinthians' side with the Tevez deal: the club know they have until July 20 to wrap up a deal for the player, as the Brazilian transfer window closes that day.
The notion of anyone in Brazil matching Tevez's £250,000-a-week salary was dismissed as ridiculous by sources in the country yesterday, but the Corinthians move is not entirely far-fetched.
There is a mass of money washing around Brazilian football because of the huge shirt sponsorship deals, which have seen the sponsors paying players to return from Europe.
Ronaldinho went to Flamengo from Milan on a salary believed to be £100,000 a week, mostly paid for by sponsors.
The huge prescription drugs firm Unimed enabled Fluminese to bring Fred back from Lyons, and Juliano Belletti and Deco from Chelsea. At Corinthians, Tevez's reduced wages would be paid for by Neo Quimica, a pharmaceutical giant.
The multi-million dollar commercialisation of the Brazilian game has been fulled by a booming economy.
A total of 20,000 fans gathered to welcome Ronaldinho home to Flamengo and the Brazilian love of an idol would make Tevez an even bigger draw at Corinthians, who boast the second biggest fan base in a country of almost 200 million people. (© Independent News Service)