The prospect of a disgruntled Carlos Tevez playing out the rest of the season at Manchester City moved closer yesterday when he returned to training for the first time since the club refused his request for a transfer.
Fears that Tevez would fail to show up at the club's Carrington centre yesterday, after a four-day holiday in Tenerife, proved unfounded when at midday he arrived in a black Hummer to join up with the rest of the first team for light training.
Tevez is understood to have told his team-mates he will give 100 per cent to City until the day he leaves, but is not considering backing down in his confrontation with the club's management. He is not thought to have had any contact with manager Roberto Mancini who is currently in Italy.
Tevez's advisers yesterday made it clear that the striker is adamant about his desire to leave Eastlands, over what he considers to be broken promises made by the club's chief executive Garry Cook, despite his appearance at the training ground. These assurances are believed to concern commercial deals not directly linked to his contract.
Tevez is also said to have stated that City is not a pleasant place to work, despite a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League that has seen them rise up to third place in the table, two points behind leaders Manchester United.
The striker has also made it clear he is missing his two daughters, Florencia, five, and eight-month-old Katie, who live with his estranged wife Vanesa, who speaks no English, in Argentina. He has told his advisers that a move to Spain offers the best hope of him being reunited with his daughters, as Vanesa could be convinced to move to Spain.
Only Barcelona or Real Madrid could afford to buy Tevez, but his advisers insist no contact has yet been received from either club. They also say there have been some professional differences with Mancini but these are not believed to be a major reason for his desire to leave the club.
City for their part have insisted they will not sell the 26-year-old Argentine during next month's transfer window, leading to a bitter stand-off between the title hopefuls and their most important player. Senior officials at the club claim the row is being driven by the player's main adviser, Kia Joorabchian, something Tevez has steadfastly denied.
Mancini did not meet Tevez yesterday as the manager is in Italy where he is to undergo minor surgery on his eye before Thursday's Europa League game with Juventus. Tevez is not likely to travel for that game, along with several other first-team players, including Mario Balotelli, although his exclusion is not thought to be related to any potential racism, and Mancini will be questioned on the situation today in Turin. The manager will meet Tevez on Friday, where the question of the captaincy will be an immediate priority. It is widely expected that Tevez will lose the job and either Kolo Touré or Vincent Kompany will be asked to take over.
Defender Micah Richards yesterday expressed his concerns that allowing Tevez to leave would be a massive blow to the club's title aspirations.
Richards, writing on Twitter, said Tevez's departure would hit City badly but that the club would have to move on. The full-back said: "I can't say much on Carlos and he's a top guy, but whatever happens – onwards & upwards. Gaffer will be in control & we're focused on next game. Seen so many players come and go but Carlos would b a big loss if he left id b gutted same sort of feeling as when Dunny [Richard Dunne] and Superman [Stephen Ireland] left."
City yesterday completed the signing of 19-year-old Israeli midfielder Gai Assulin, who was released by Barcelona in June. Assulin, whose agent is Pini Zahavi, has joined on a two-and-a-half year deal. "I'm at a great club and I hope to be here a long time. I have to take my opportunity and learn every day in training," he said.