Carlos Tevez last night accused Manchester United of failing to offer him a permanent deal and said that Sir Alex Ferguson's claim he had turned down a contract was not correct. In his most outspoken interview yet on his future, Tevez said that he would now accept a five-year deal from "any club in the world" for his own peace of mind.
The United striker was speaking on the Radio Del Plata station in Argentina yesterday in response to Ferguson's claim that a permanent deal for Tevez was being delayed by the player and his representatives failing to agree terms. United will have to pay a fee of around £32m to Tevez's owners MSI to sign him on a permanent basis and they are understood to have offered him around £80,000-a-week, with the likes of Real Madrid and Internazionale also interested.
Tevez said yesterday: "I want to stay but United still haven't made any offer. I'm annoyed that Ferguson says that I didn't like what they were offering because neither me nor my representatives have received any offer. I've been waiting for a year-and-a-half for them to make an offer.
"I don't know what my future is. United know what they have to pay if they want to me to stay. It annoys me that they're beginning to play games with the people who cheer me with such affection in every match. I want them [the fans] to know I haven't received any offer. If I have to leave the club then I want to leave in a good way."
Tevez was due back in Manchester this week after being given leave to return to Buenos Aires for a break, thus missing United's 3-0 defeat of Southampton in the FA Cup third round. The 24-year-old's loan deal at Old Trafford runs out in the summer and he is currently free to talk to other clubs about a move at the end of the season. Having failed to secure a contract with United, Tevez said he would be doing exactly that.
"Now every club has the same opportunity to sign me," Tevez said. "If a club comes to me and offers me a contract for five years, then I will accept it for my own peace of mind. But I would like to stay at Manchester as long as they don't play games with me. I will sign my last contract, and then I reckon I'll go back to Boca [Juniors]. That could be in four or five years."
As well as the delay in signing a permanent deal, Tevez has also found himself relegated to the role of squad player behind Dimitar Berbatov who was also given the No 9 shirt that the Argentinean prized. Having scored the winner against Stoke City on Boxing Day he was then told by Ferguson he could have a break for the Middlesbrough and Southampton games.
Ferguson has already started the mind games with Liverpool, claiming they will crack in the second half of the season. He told Manchester United's official magazine: "There's no doubt that in the second half of the season they [Liverpool] will get nervous. With the experience we've got at our club, having won a couple of titles in the past couple of years especially, it helps you. There's no doubt about that. They [Liverpool] are going into the unknown, and if you make mistakes, then you get punished. The aim is obviously to keep up our momentum so that we can challenge for the Premier League title again, and hopefully we can get to Rome and the European Cup final again. No one's defended the European Cup in years so that's a big challenge for us but the first thing is to try to get there."