Manchester City may be caricatured as a club where money is no object but manager Roberto Mancini has expressed frustration at his inability to remove a group of unwanted players who are bleeding hundreds of thousands of pounds from the club every week.
As their failure to find a buyer for Carlos Tevez has demonstrated, City's policy of paying high salaries and offering long contracts, began under Mancini's predecessor Mark Hughes, has produced a pool of footballers who are almost unsellable. Once the deal to take him back to Sao Paulo to play for Corinthians collapsed, there was only a handful of European clubs able to swallow Tevez's salary and even the likeliest of those, Internazionale, has been backing away from the prospect.
Tevez, however, has a future if he stays at Manchester City, which is more than can be said for Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge, Roque Santa Cruz and Shaun Wright-Phillips, none of whom will feature in Mancini's Premier League squad. Even at a conservative estimate of their wages, they are costing City around £350,000 a week.
"I don't like the club spending so much on these players," said Mancini. "If we had moved earlier and more quickly [to get them off the books], we would have spent less money.
"I did not buy these players and I can only answer for the players that I buy. I tried with these players two years ago but they are not part of my plans now. I am sorry about this because I respect these players, but it is better that I am clear with them."
Adebayor is still likely to leave for Tottenham, although the deal is not as imminent as has been suggested. The Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, said yesterday he would be interested in Santa Cruz, although Bellamy's wages made his return to Celtic Park – where he played briefly after falling out with Newcastle – unfeasible.
Tevez may still play for Manchester City but he is unlikely to start at Bolton tomorrow because of his exertions in the Copa America. When it was pointed out to Mancini that Luis Suarez, who unlike Tevez had played in the final, had started Liverpool's opening game of the season, the City manager replied that, unlike Suarez, Tevez had gone on holiday after the tournament. Suarez, it should be said, did not finish the game against Sunderland.
"There are reasons why Carlos wants to leave," said Mancini. "I respect his reasons but if we don't close a move for him, he will stay with us."
Mancini dismissed the thought of a sullen, disruptive Tevez hanging around the Carrington training ground, trying to negotiate a way out of the club. "I don't think so because he is a professional player and he knows the rules. He knows that, if he wants to leave the club, he can, but at the moment there is no other club prepared to pay his value. Carlos knows he might have to stay but, if he does, his mentality will be good."
Manchester United will be without both first-choice central defenders for Monday night's encounter with Tottenham. Both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were injured in last Sunday's 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion but while the former's hamstring is expected to heal in time for the home game with Arsenal on 28 August, Vidic's calf will keep him out for between four to five weeks, making it unlikely he will feature against Chelsea on 18 September.