Thursday, May 28, 2009

Picking the bones out of Carlos Tevez’s next move

The Carlos Tevez transfer wrangle has taken a fresh twist as the Argentine stopped off in Rome for an extra few days as his teammates returned to Manchester.

Tevez was the only member of the squad not to board the plane on Thursday morning and his distance from the rest of the team pours further fuel on the fire that he is set to leave Old Trafford for good.

Picking the bones out of Carlos Tevez’s next move.

Conflicting reports from all involved including Tevez’s owners and the Manchester United Board of Directors has muddied the water and the Argentine starts his summer not knowing where he will be playing his football next season.

The two-year lease deal with Manchester United is close to expiring and their chief executive David Gill continues to um-and-ah over coughing up the agreed fee to secure Tevez’s registration.

David Gill is keen to maintain that Manchester United will not be dictated to by anybody else in the game, a similar stance to that shut the door in Real Madrid’s face when they tracked Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It’s clear we have an option,” said Gill. “If we want to secure Carlos’ rights and agree a personal contract with him, we have to pay a certain sum. That sum is £25.5 million.

“It's a decision we're taking and we're assessing what we wish to do. Our honest opinion, in the current economic climate, is that the figure is a bit top-heavy.”

Speaking before Manchester United’s Champions League final defeat Gill was quick to remind Tevez and those with his interests at heart the unique stage players at the club have.

“The game is littered with players who have left us, for whatever reason, who say after Manchester United it is downhill.” added Gill before conceding that other clubs are interested in signing the player.

“Other clubs may be prepared to pay [£25.5m] so we have to understand we operate in a certain marketplace.”

For certain a fair chunk of Manchester United’s healthy profits from another successful season will go on paying off the interest on Malcolm Glazer's loan which brought the club four years ago.

However the Tevez cash is there, rumours of £40 million bids for Franck Ribery are circulating, and the player’s representative Kia Joorabchian is keen to receive the full amount for his asset.

“Two years ago when the deal was made, the deal was that he was on loan for two years and Manchester United had the option to purchase,” said Joorabchian. “If they decided to purchase him they would offer him a permanent contract and the terms of the contract were fixed within the paperwork.”

Joorabchian, who has been with Carlos Tevez since the Argentine’s time at Boca Juniors, reemphasized before the Champions League final that no concrete offer had been forthcoming from Manchester United.

“We actually have not had any offer for Carlos, no offers for personal terms for Carlos,” he told Sky Sports News. “I had a chat with David Gill, we had a meeting but no offer was made.”

One point Joorachian and Gill were in agreement on is that there will be no move by Manchester United to try and steal the player from under the Iranian’s nose.

“[Manchester United] are probably the biggest club in the world and I don't think they would breach any contract.” said Joorabchain.

But what of Carlos Tevez’s options if David Gill refuses to sanction the move or Sir Alex Ferguson simply feels he does not require the former West Ham man in his squad next season.

Real Madrid and Manchester City have both made enquires but the most likely move seems to be a trip down the road to United’s arch enemies Liverpool.

With Fernando Torres extending his contract at Anfield the prospect of a settled frontline of the Spaniard and Tevez will have The Kop salivating.

Gabriel Heinze tried to make the switch a few seasons ago and found his way blocked by Sir Alex, in fact the last player to successfully make the move was Phil Chisnall back in 1964.

Factors that mean this time Rafa Benitiez may get his man include Tevez’s unique ownership arrangement and the fact the Argentine’s best mate Javier Mascherano turns out for the Red Men.

The Argentina captain has played alongside Tevez at Corinthians in Brazil as well as at West Ham and for the national team.

“It would be great if Carlos can come here because I know how good he is,” said Mascherano. “Carlos would be great for us because of the type of player he is.”

The midfield hatchetman also knows that securing his mate’s signature won’t be easy after coming through a similar deal himself before signing for Liverpool.

“It will be a tough fight because so many clubs are interested in him,” added Mascherano. “All I can say is that he is a great player and a great person.”

Its not just the current crop at Liverpool who want Tevez either with Ian Rush throwing his two bob into the mix.

“I would love to see Carlos Tevez at Anfield next season and I think he would fit in really well.” said the former Welsh marksman.

So with Liverpool ready to roll out the red carpet there are those that Old Trafford who are trying to convince Manchester United to do whatever is necessary to retain Tevez’s services.

Champions League legend Teddy Sheringham believes he sees qualities in Carlos Tevez which are lacking in other players in Sir Alex’s squad.

“I would like to see Tevez stay because he fits perfectly into the United system and his work ethic is fantastic. I'm sure he will stay.” said United’s supersub from 1999.

It is Tevez’s tireless and unselfish running as well as his skills on the ball that have endeared him to so many United fans and put the Argentine above Dimitar Berbatov in their affections.

One Manchester United teammate who can also claim to do his fair share of legwork every time he takes to the pitch is South Korean Park Ji-sung.

The normally reserved midfielder saw fit to speak out in support of Tevez and plead with the club to keep him on.

“It would be very disappointing if Carlos left, not just for me but everyone at Man United because he is the best player, so we need him,” said Park, “This season when he's come on the pitch he has scored a lot of goals, helped the team and saved the team.”

Unfortunately for Tevez though you can count the goals he has score in this year’s Premier League winning campaign on one hand and that return is simply not enough for United to unblinkingly hand over the wad of cash needed to make him stay.

One excuse for the lack of goals could be his lack of starts but in a team that creates as much as United a few more strikes nestling in the onion bag would have put everybody’s mind at ease about the deal.

One place where Tevez is still held in highest regard is in his homeland and by his national team boss Diego Maradona. El Diego was quick to expose to chat he had with the striker to the press which may not have helped Tevez’s case of getting the move to Manchester United.

“I spoke with Tevez on the phone and the first thing he said to me was ‘that old man doesn't like me’,” said the World Cup 1986 winning captain. “[Tevez said] he's not playing me and he is lowering my value.”

For his part Sir Alex Ferguson has stayed away from the issue in public saying only that he wants the player to stay but only if the deal is good for the club.

'”David Gill has had a good meeting and I have spoken to him. We have given [Kia Joorabchian] an offer and we hope he accepts,” said the manager. “The problem is we are not negotiating with a football club.”

Being from the old school Ferguson is clearly wary of third-party ownership agreements and if Carlos Tevez’s time in England is anything to go by perhaps he is right to be so along with half of Sheffield.

The man at the centre of the wrangle has found it hard to hide his disappointment at his lack of opportunities at Old Trafford but has also expressed his respect for the club and its fans.

“The fans at this club have made me feel very welcome and loved and I want them to know how much it means for me,” said the striker. “My future will be sorted out in the summer.”

In the meantime Carlos Tevez has managed to put his uncertain future and a Champions League final defeat behind him to film this advert for television in Argentina.

Copyright © Tim Sturtridge &

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