Manchester United today confirmed that Carlos Tevez is to leave Old Trafford.
United chief executive David Gill had been in discussions with Tevez's advisor Kia Joorabchian, with the aim of keeping the popular Argentina star.
But, despite the offer of a lucrative five-year contract that would have made Tevez one of the highest paid players at the club, the South American has decided to leave.
Following contact received from Carlos Tevez's advisors last night, in advance of the deadline the club set for concluding negotiations, Manchester United announces that Carlos will not be signing a new contract with the club," said a statement released by United this morning.
"The club agreed to pay the option price of £25.5million and offered Carlos a five year contract which would have made him one of its highest paid players.
"Disappointingly however, his advisors informed the club that, despite the success he has enjoyed during one of the club's most successful periods, he does not wish to continue playing for Manchester United.
"The club would like to thank Carlos for his services over the last two seasons and wishes him good luck for the future."
The news will be greeted with dismay by United fans, who have warmed to Tevez's all-action style during a two-year 'loan' spell that has included successive Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008.
They had hoped some of the £80million about to be pocketed from Real Madrid for the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo would be used to keep Tevez, who also impressed during a season with West Ham.
However, after declaring earlier this season he was deeply unhappy at a perceived lack of match action - even though he made more appearances than either Wayne Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov, it was always likely the South American would move on.
Tevez is certainly not short of options, with new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti keen to lure the former Boca Juniors star to Stamford Bridge.
Yet Manchester City are the favourites to confirm Tevez's capture, having made Joorabchian an offer said to be well in excess of United's.
As the Blues are on the verge of confirming Roque Santa Cruz's £18million arrival from Blackburn, it would represent a major statement of intent for a club also hoping to tie up the signing of Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.