Manchester City study legal route over Carlos Tevez

 

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The Independent Online

Manchester City's legal team will go through the small print of Carlos Tevez's contract before deciding how to deal with the controversial Argentina striker.

As condemnation of the 27-year-old's apparent refusal to play against Bayern Munich last night has mounted - Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was amongst the most vocal critics of a player who was a hero at his old club West Ham - City have taken advantage of a planned day off for their first-team squad to give the whole furore some breathing space.

The gap has not been used to try and change manager Roberto Mancini's mind about Tevez having no future.

Instead, the club are ensuring any action will not be the subject of appeals by Tevez, as prima-face as the evidence appears to be.

Chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak will have the final say.

Most likely is a January sale, although that would leave Tevez hanging around for another three months, bringing with it huge potential for disruption.

However, given the vast Abu Dhabi wealth bankrolling the entire City operation, it cannot entirely be discounted that the man who skippered the Blues to their FA Cup triumph in May, the club's first silverware since 1976, will have his contract cancelled, or that he will be left to fester until the end of his deal in 2014.

Compromise is not on the agenda.

And the claims Tevez made in his own statement on his conduct this morning - that there had been a misunderstanding - have been ridiculed by senior City staff, as has the notion the South American's failure to start more than two games for the Blues amounts to some kind of victimisation on Mancini's part.

It does seem the combined 15 goals so far contributed to City's season by Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero amounts to a fairly heavy counterbalance to Tevez's inclusion.

Yet it appears that belief has festered since the forward returned from his summer break, leading to a breakdown in the relationship with Mancini that spilled over into open warfare last night.

There was no mention of the City manager in the statement Tevez released this morning.

"I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich.

"They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club.

"In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play.

"There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood.

"Going forward I am ready to play when required and to fulfil my obligations."

The "misunderstanding" apparently came down to Tevez's belief that when Mancini asked him to warm up, prior to a potential introduction, the forward felt he was already prepared, having only just returned to his seat in the visitors' dug-out at the Allianz Arena.

It is also suggested Tevez was willing to play, something Mancini vehemently denies, a stance which has left Khaldoon with no option other than to back his manager strongly, knowing the Italian would be seriously undermined if he failed.

Not that Khaldoon is likely to come down on the striker's side.

For all the finance lavished on a player who became a City hero the instant he opted to join the club for whom he now earns in excess of £200,000 a week after leaving Manchester United, and the emotional investment spent talking him into staying when his first transfer request was submitted in December, Tevez has wrecked his legacy.

Instead of joining the pantheon of greats and being revered like Colin Bell, he will remembered as a player of great talent, tainted by utter selfishness.

"He (Mancini) has dealt with it in the way he thinks is right," said assistant manager David Platt. "I think he is right.

"The pictures are on the TV. What do you want him to do? Come out and lie? He has told it as it is. Full stop.

"That is where we are now. On Friday he will be asked more questions, we can go from there.

"He may well say something different. He might not. I don't know.

"At least he will have had time to assess things a little bit in more detail.

"It is not re-asserting authority with the dressing room. It is about dealing with that situation."

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