Tevez future still unclear despite Mancini optimism
Carlos Tevez is no nearer to committing his future to Manchester City, despite the optimistic note sounded by his manager Roberto Mancini after the club climbed to third place in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Mancini said he had been told by Tevez that he wants to stay after the 3-0 win over Stoke City but the player is no closer to resolving uncertainties over his future and there has been no contact from the club to seek a resolution to the impasse with the captain.
Some within City do not share Mancini's optimism about the player's intentions, which the manager expressed 48 hours after the Argentine had said he would need to consult his family.
Why Mancini spoke so confidently is unclear. He may be attempting to force the issue, though City's Nigel de Jong has delivered the most impassioned case yet for the need to keep him after his two goals sank Stoke.
"Where in Europe or in the world can you see a striker who has such a high-scoring rate, plus that work rate that Carlos has?" De Jong said.
"He's compact and small but he wins every battle with every defender.
"Where can you find a striker similar to him? There are very few. There are maybe a couple but he is one of the greats at the moment. So it's important for us and the club that he stays here."
Mancini feels the same, though the struggle to win Tevez's heart to the City cause has gone on for more than a year and the manager's words were a source of some bemusement to the striker yesterday.
Mancini wants the situation resolved as quickly as possible, though he can at least prepare for his summer break in the knowledge that Mario Balotelli will be back at Eastlands in July.
Those close to Balotelli are expecting that his return to Italy later next week will prompt the usual rumours that the 20-year-old will join Milan, his favourite boyhood team.
However he has settled now at City and will be back for the next campaign. The Italian fascination with Balotelli and the prospect of him heading back to Milan is something the striker is always flattered by. But he knows Mancini has begun to help him mature into a Premier League player and any suggestions this summer of him being lured to Milan should be ignored.
De Jong said he did not know whether Tevez would stay. "It's hard to say at the moment," he said. "He's made it clear to the squad he still sees himself as a Manchester City player and we hope he will continue to be.
"The speculation has already begun regarding who is coming and who is going out of City, but let's just finish the job."
The Dutch midfielder, one of five players nominated for the club's player of the season awards yesterday, said that confirming third place on Sunday would mark the end of a "fantastic season".
"It's something we'd like to do and obviously now that place is in our hands," he said of the automatic Champions League qualification third place would bring. "We have to go to Bolton and secure third place. It would make it a fantastic season."
Finishing third would mean avoiding a play-off against the likes of Bayern Munich, and De Jong is keen to avert such a possibility. "It won't be easy in that round," he said. "You have to try and get third if you can."
Mancini believes that finishing third would mark his progress in instilling the right attitude at City.
"Now everything is in our hands," he said. "We don't want to miss this chance. I always wanted to change the mentality at this club and now, that is done. But we have not finished. We still need to continue this." (© Independent News Service)