Defection from reds lights the blue touch paper

Manchester derbies rarely lack spice, and this season's should be a real vindaloo. The game at Old Trafford, scheduled for 19 September, has already been put back a day for live television coverage, when – assuming that City have not signed Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand by then – the central figure will be a chunky little Argentinian described last week as having "divided the city".

The city, but not the City. Carlos Tevez's welcome at Eastlands left him in no doubt of the affection he has already earned simply by becoming the first player to move across town from Old Trafford for 10 years. "I was very happy at the reaction of the fans," he said. "They made me feel very happy and very welcome at the club so I'm really focused now."

This parading of a new acquisition has become an almost weekly occurrence: Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz and now Tevez. Having promised "five or six" new signings, City's manager Mark Hughes hopes there are more such occasions to come, including Emmanuel Adebayor if not John Terry.

Such is the local rivalry that even the arrival of the England captain would mean less to a hardcore City fan than stealing a player United wanted to keep; a player, moreover, for whom they do not even receive a fee.

Tevez himself could not resist criticising Sir Alex Ferguson and United for their belated attempts to make him feel wanted, which will endear him even more to City. He claimed: "Since the Liverpool v Manchester United game in Liverpool, I did not play an important role in any of the important games. In the Champions' League I didn't play, I didn't play in the derby.

"Alex never gave me an explanation for why he took me out of the first XI. It's not like after two years you're suddenly going to be interested in someone in your team.

"I tried several times to speak to him, to express my feelings, but the only thing he would say was, 'Don't worry, don't worry, this is going to change'. But he never gave any justification or explanation.

"My team-mates were the first to know when I wouldn't be playing and they tried several times to convince me to stay and that things would change."

Tevez revealed that he spoke to Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid, although "the only club that really made a serious offer was Manchester City". However as a proud Argentinian with 50 caps for his country, he insists he has nothing to prove and that his own confidence in his ability is in no way affected.

"What happened at United won't have any influence on my playing ability today or tomorrow," he said. "I can sleep very easily every night so I don't feel I have to prove anything."

As to his new club's continuing pursuit of expensive recruits: "It's another sign that City are trying to build a really strong team. That's the promise I had from the coach and the owners and I'm happy that these names might come to this club as well."

Whoever else City may sign up before the end of August, the principal task would appear to be finding the right balance, especially in attack. At the last count Hughes had eight centre-forwards – or was it 10? – so it is now possible to put into practice what he threatened after signing Santa Cruz: "The reality is that some [players] will leave. When I'm able to bring good players in, maybe other players will feel their future lies elsewhere and maybe that's a conversation we need to have once the players are over the line. But I don't weaken my side before I strengthen it."

Strengthened they are; and this, remember, was a team second only to United in goals scored at home last season, if less prolific away. The entertainment factor will remain high. Unfortunately for the neutrals the next step is some work on that defence to minimise the slapstick factor.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea