The Argentine’s mammoth wages and numerous indiscretions made a sale inevitable as Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano prepare to step up their Eastlands revolution
By Liam Twomey
As Carlos Tevez closes in a move to Juventus, the Italian club’s sporting director, Beppe Marotta, may well take a moment to congratulate himself on a job well done. Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano will be inclined to do the same.
It is a move which suits all parties. Juventus, seemingly trumped by Arsenal in the race to sign Gonzalo Higuain, finally have acquired a marquee striker versatile enough to partner with Fernando Llorente or Mirko Vucinic as they look to mount an earnest challenge for the Champions League. Should they make it to the semi-finals, Tevez’s fee will rise to around €17.5 million.
For Tevez, Turin presents the fresh start that he has been craving since that first transfer request in December 2010. He may be taking a significant cut to his gargantuan €,000-a-week wages and it may not be his beloved Buenos Aires but it is a city and culture which should prove not quite so alien or apparently repugnant as Manchester.
Yet in spite of all this, it is City who will be most satisfied. That may sound strange, given that only Sergio Aguero could match his countryman’s goal tally of 17 for the club last season, but City’s perception of the man for whom they went to great lengths and expense to lure from Old Trafford in the summer of 2009 has always been conditioned by more than what he does on the pitch.
To suggest that Tevez has often been difficult to manage during his time at the Etihad Stadium would be a ludicrously kind conclusion. Roberto Mancini, a combustible character himself, found the task impossible. The relationship between the two men shattered in the Allianz Arena away dugout in September 2011 and never recovered.
Tevez, defiant, spent the next three months working on his golf handicap, before returning and helping City win their first league title since 1968. His team-mates and club staff welcomed him back with handshakes and open arms, much to Mancini’s chagrin. The whole episode cemented the almost unanimous unpopularity which would eventually prove decisive for the Italian.
There have also been other, less high-profile issues: the driving ban, the 250-hour community service order, the over-indulgence of £50 steaks at Gaucho, his favourite Manchester restaurant, the countless rounds of golf in Cheshire with his wife, Vanessa, the constant public flirting with other clubs and repeated insistencies of his desire to return to his homeland.
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MAJOR TROPHIES WON
For Begiristain and Soriano, however, the decision to sell is not personal, merely sporting and financial. Tevez is 29 and has just one year remaining on huge money. Having already offloaded Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz, City need to free up more of their wage bill if their €140m shortlist of six summer targets – headed by Napoli striker Edinson Cavani – is to remain feasible, and this is the last window in which Tevez can still command a reasonable fee.
With Financial Fair Play enforcement looming, the former Barcelona duo are keen to eradicate the money-grabbing culture which pervaded at City previously and replace it with more heavily incentivised contracts. They are also keen to cultivate the ‘club man’ mentality embodied by captain Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart. In both regards, it is clear that Tevez does not fit into their vision.
Edin Dzeko is likely to become another casualty of the City revolution. Cavani is the No.1 attacking target, though Napoli’s reluctance to accept anything less than his €63m release clause, combined with stiff competition from Real Madrid and Chelsea, means that tying up a deal will be difficult.
Malaga starlet Isco’s likely impending move to the Santiago Bernabeu rather than rejoining former boss Manuel Pellegrini will also necessitate a rethink at Eastlands in the coming days and weeks.
Yet, despite the difficulties City are facing as buyers, the sale of Tevez will be regarded as a success by Begiristain and Soriano. They have lost a big player but also a big headache.
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