OK, let’s have a lot at the official line on Carlos Tevez’s rejected transfer request again, and see if we can clear any of the fog.
Here’s an excerpt from the Manchester City statement, issued yesterday morning: “The club remains disappointed with the situation and particularly with the actions of Carlos’ representative.”
That, we are all assuming, is a reference to Kia Joorabchian, the businessman who has been a significant influence on Tevez’s career.
And here is an extract from Tevez’s response, released last night: “I hugely resent management suggestions that I have been unduly influenced by others. I wanted to leave in the summer but was convinced to return. Sadly, my feelings have not changed.
“I am disappointed that the management should now see fit to try to portray the situation in another light. My relationship with certain executives and individuals at the club has broken down and is now beyond repair. I do not wish to expand on this. They know because I have told them.”
That, we are all assuming, is a reference to City chief executive Garry Cook and football administrator Brian Marwood.
So we are looking at a rare, perhaps unique, example of a footballer who apparently wants a transfer because he can’t stand the chief executive. Do they really spend that much time in each other’s company? And if so, what have they been talking about, given that Tevez barely speaks English and Cook doesn’t speak Spanish? Did they get into a row during a particularly feisty game of Connect 4?
Or is it Joorabchian who has done the falling out with Cook?
What is particularly odd about Tevez’s statement is that it makes no reference whatsoever to homesickness or tiredness, and indicates that his relationship with manager Roberto Mancini is fine. And yet, as the rumblings over Tevez’s long-term City future have increased over recent months, those were the three issues that repeatedly cropped up.
The striker gave a couple of interviews in his native Argentina early on this season stating that he was exhausted after the World Cup, disillusioned with football and considering retirement.
It would be completely understandable if the ongoing complications in his personal life had added to his weariness. His two daughters, Florencia and Katie, are in Buenos Aires along with their mother Vanessa Mansilla. Tevez has become increasingly affected by his separation from his children, and City have allowed him time off to visit them whenever possible.
In a video interview for City’s official magazine and website, released last week but apparently conducted two months ago, Tevez talked about his family situation and his thoughts on retirement.
“I miss my family, just like anyone would when they are not around,” he said. “But I am happy here in Manchester and I feel good in myself.”
“As for the subject of retiring, I did mention it in an interview, saying it had crossed my mind. But it is something I don’t see happening for a long time to come.
“It is not easy for me living abroad while my little girls are in Buenos Aires. But it is something you have to deal with.”
When Neil Ashton broke the story of Tevez’s transfer request in yesterday’s News Of The World (for which he got some nasty and undeserved abuse on Twitter from a small minority of City fans), he made a passing reference to the striker’s homesickness. It would make sense if that were a factor in Tevez’s desire to leave. So why did he not refer to it directly in his statement? He would, I’m sure, have received sympathy for doing so.
The most puzzling aspect of that statement is what Tevez has to say about Mancini. Ashton’s story states explicitly that the relationship between striker and manager is beyond repair. It would have been a reasonable assumption to make, given Tevez’s criticism of Mancini’s training methods earlier this year, and the half-time dressing room row during the game against Newcastle in October, and the public touchline spat when the striker was substituted against Bolton nine days ago.
But no, apparently there’s no problem there. “I wish to clarify that I have no personal issue with the manager Roberto Mancini,” says the Tevez statement. Oh, OK.
The statement adds that it’s not about money either. City have seen it differently, stating: “Significantly, over recent months, the club has also received numerous requests from Carlos’ representative to renegotiate and improve his playing contract as well as more recently a request to extend that contract by another year.”
Curiouser and curiouser. Tevez, who has been given further time off during the last week while serving a one-match ban for picking up five bookings, reportedly flew not to Argentina, but to Tenerife. We are led to believe he wants a move not to his homeland, but to Spain, in the hope that he can persuade Vanessa and the children to relocate there – the logic being that there will be no language barriers to contend with.
Carlos Tevez may well end up moving to Spain. But I don’t believe for a moment it will make him any happier in the long term. And perhaps a year or two down the line, the whole process will be played out again, in another city, before another set of disbelieving supporters. It’s a living, I suppose.