Missing: Carlos Tevez
Missing: Argentinian footballer with a scarred neck and very limited English, known to friends as Carlitos. Around 5 feet, 9 inches tall. May be looking a little tubby at this point, as he is known to put on weight when absent from training. Last reported sighting at Buenos Aires airport, it is possible he has returned to Ciudadela, his hometown. If seen, approach with caution: Man has a history of non-compliance and running away.
This one really did have an air of inevitability, didn’t it?
Having decided not to contest the two-week fine and suspension imposed by City for his failure to warm up in Munich, Tevez requested permission to return to Argentina to see his family after he was given Tuesday off training.
Manchester City denied the request, and, naturally, the next step for Tevez was to ignore his employers’ instructions and return home anyway.
In any other case you would expect Roberto Mancini and the City hierarchy would have been surprised when photos of their player arriving, unauthorised, in his home nation surfaced in last week’s papers; in reality, they probably weren’t.
Fairly predictably, City issued a statement declaring their expectations that the striker would be back in training on Wednesday as usual. Even more predictable was the following press release from the club stating that Tevez was not at training, and City would contact their lawyers.
With another City statement announcing Tevez’s “expected” return released on Monday, the South American’s advisors confirmed that he was still halfway across the globe with his family.
Flanked by his adoring fans on his return to Argentina, his reception will only strengthen his rigid desire to return home on a permanent basis. City might not disagree, but are refusing to be bullied into a cut-price sale, and are still holding out for a fee as close to £40 million as possible.
Unfortunately for the club, his disruptive behaviour is quickly eating away at his transfer value, and if City want to offload the striker in January, a substantially reduced fee, perhaps as little as £15 million, might be a more realistic price.
The latest debacle is just another in the increasingly banal story surrounding City, Tevez and his advisors.
The latter should be considered just as responsible as Tevez for this whole situation. Tevez is not known for his quick mind; his failure to grasp English after five years in the country is fairly decent evidence for this.
The Argentinean trusts his advisors, and they, in turn, help Tevez “further” his career and conduct himself professionally. One can only assume that their advice has been anything but professional.
However, Tevez wants a move away from Manchester, preferably to South America, and his actions have arguably strengthened his chances of this. City are more desperate than ever to sell the striker, and the Argentinean has sabotaged his own transfer value, meaning it will be easier for a club to meet his fee.
There was talk of a legal challenge to sack Tevez and recoup any possible transfer fee by suing him for compensation, but any reparations would likely be nowhere near the money City would receive from a transfer, therefore making his sale the most lucrative avenue for the club.
The last year has been a stark change in fortunes for Tevez, whose arrival from rivals Manchester United, subsequent use on the now (in)famous “Welcome to Manchester” poster, and outstanding form on the field led to his status as a fan favourite and symbol of the changing times at City.
But now, having seen two transfer requests refused and a summer transfer to Brazilian club Corinthians break down, he has turned to more extreme actions in a bid to secure his move away.
The latest developments mean Tevez’s relationship with City, already as fragile as a Pamela Anderson marriage, is all but destroyed.
Last week, PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor astutely recognised that Tevez was “in danger of burning his bridges rather than conciliation.”
Tevez has now seen to it that those bridges were nuked, before the remains of the bridges were collected together, and nuked again.
It remains to be seen whether Tevez will bother to return to Manchester over the next few days or weeks. If he does, it will be interesting to see whether City accept him back at training or impose another fine and suspension on the striker.
They might not be willing to suspend him again; after all, he could just return to Argentina.
City’s hierarchy are in a tough spot, and Tevez and his advisors have done an excellent (but also a dishonest, disloyal and morally reprehensible) job of improving his chances of a move away by effectively holding his employers (those who pay him in excess of £200,000 a week) to ransom.
The best outcome for all parties is Tevez’s departure from City. Perhaps leaving him in Argentina, without pay, and then selling him to the highest bidder in January would be the best option for City.
For Tevez, a ticket out of England is all he apparently desires, and he is closing in on this. His reputation, though, is in tatters.
However, it is worth thinking about this one, very rarely publicised view: Consider Carlos Tevez as a human being for a moment, and not just a footballer—something us football fans rarely do.
His unhappiness in England is unequivocal, and all the money in the world cannot make him happy.
As a footballer who has clearly fallen out of love with football, he is clearly willing to sabotage his own career and give up large quantities of his lavish salary in an attempt to do this. How unhappy must somebody be to do all this?
In reality, Tevez is simply doing what all good parents should do and putting time with his family above all else in his life.
From a human perspective, it is a very sad situation, with a father desperate to be reunited with his young daughters as they grow up.
From a sporting view, Tevez has broken every unwritten rule (and several written ones), and fans are well within their rights to despise him and everything he personifies in the sport. He is a role model and a hero to many children, but his actions have done nothing to help football’s reputation.
The situation needs resolving, and resolution should come, one way or another, in January.
Hopefully, the outcome is final, City get their money and Tevez gets his wish.
At least then we won’t have to read any more about this ridiculous state of affairs; it’s becoming very tedious, very quickly.