Kenny Dalglish has demanded that clubs be allowed to conduct their business in confidence, 48 hours after the leaking of details of Liverpool's exploratory telephone call to Manchester City in which the notion of swapping Andy Carroll for Carlos Tevez was broached.
Dalglish yesterday refused to discuss whether the swap deal had been floated, in a call from Anfield to City's football administrator, Brian Marwood, last Thursday, though he did not deny that the conversation had taken place. The Liverpool manager may encourage his director of football, Damien Comolli, to establish fresh contact with City if the possibility arises of a loan deal for the Argentine, in the last day of the transfer window today.
That remains extremely unlikely, though The Independent understands that Tevez lodged an appeal late last night against the City disciplinary action that has cost him £9.3m in salary, bonuses and fines. The appeal will cast the club into at least two more months of disciplinary procedures and make City keener than ever to see Tevez out of the door before the transfer window shuts at 11pm.
Dalglish's demands for privacy reflected the annoyance which is bound to be felt at Anfield about the disclosure of details of the call, from someone with the necessary authority within the Anfield hierarchy to Marwood, proposing a no-cash Tevez/Carroll swap. "We're not talking about any specific incident, but if you are going to do business in any way, shape or form, no matter what life you are in, you don't need to disclose it until it's done," said Dalglish. "We're not going to get involved in justifying what people are saying. Get them to justify it, not us"
Liverpool's call may initially have been an inquiry about Tevez's availability on loan, before discussion turned to the Carroll swap, which was rejected. But any thoughts Dalglish may have of pursuing a loan deal again today would need to be accompanied by a guarantee to meet City's asking price, either now or from the end of this season. It is highly doubtful Tevez would want to move down the M62, in any case.
Milan, who have offered no cash so far, may seek to tempt City with a low cash offer before the window closes, in the knowledge that the club badly want the 27-year-old off their books. Milan will be encouraged by Tevez's representatives' decision to appeal to a Premier League independent arbitration panel against the fines and salary deductions imposed by City, following Tevez's unauthorised departure to Argentina in November. These disciplinary proceedings will drag on until the title run-in. It will take the Premier League around two months to constitute the three-man panel, which will be headed by a senior legal figure – possibly a former judge – and, typically, also include a former senior football administrator and a third individual of high public standing. The Premier League's first task will be to act with urgency, first writing to both parties, asking for observations on the dispute.
Despite the proceedings, City's Abu Dhabi ownership will not – on a point of principle – allow Tevez to back them into a corner. The view of the club last night remained that Tevez will not be loaned out and may only leave the club if a cash offer, payable now or in the summer, is tabled.
City's manager, Roberto Mancini, did not dispel the idea yesterday that he would have welcomed the chance to discuss a Carroll/Tevez swap, which surfaced in Thursday's telephone conversation, if Marwood had put it to him.
The Italian, speaking two hours before Dalglish was asked to address the issue, said that he admired Carroll as a player but declared that Marwood had not put Liverpool's ideas to him.
"Carroll is a good player, he is young and strong, but it would be difficult and I don't think [it is going to happen]," Mancini said. "There was no phone call to me. I don't know if Brian Marwood was involved. I just read it in the newspaper. I didn't speak to Marwood about this." Both managers said they expected no business to be concluded by their clubs on transfer deadline day. "Nothing is happening at all," Dalglish said.
The Liverpool manager, whose side have scored fewer goals than any other in the top 10 bar Stoke, knows Tevez's work rate is unquestionable when his mind is right. In their call, Liverpool were actually doing no more than following up on the manager's suggestion after Craig Bellamy had helped defeat his former club in the Carling Cup semi-final, that "If Man City have anyone else like that, they know where we are."
Everton v Manchester City
Everton: HOWARD; NEVILLE; DUFFY; HEITINGA; BAINES; DONOVAN; GIBSON; FELLAINI; DRENTHE; CAHILL; STRACQUALURSI
Man City: HART; CLICHY; LESCOTT; KOMPANY; RICHARDS; BARRY; DE JONG; NASRI; MILNER; SILVA; AGUERO
Kick-off 8pm (Sky Sports 2; Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm).
Ref P Walton (Northants). Odds: Eve 7-2; Draw 5-2; MC 5-6