Manchester United want Carlos Tevez to have made a decision on his future by the time Sir Alex Ferguson returns from his holiday on the Côte d'Azur in the middle of next week. The Argentine will not be paid beyond a week next Tuesday, when his contract expires and the indecision is not helping Ferguson plan for life after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo's negotiations with Real Madrid are also proving a frustration – for the Spanish club. His agent, Jorge Mendes, is seeking to ensure that the player's take from image rights at Real is 55 per cent, while the Spanish club's president, Florentino Perez, is aware that revenue from those rights is a key way of recouping his £80m outlay. Both clubs are working to a deadline of 30 June, so Mendez feels he has time to negotiate on the issue.
There is no suggestion that the impasse threatens the deal in any way. The prevailing view is that Perez will find Ronaldo a sweetener elsewhere in the deal rather than giving in over image rights and creating tension with other members of the squad, who generally keep 50 per cent of the rights.
Ronaldo has moved his holiday base from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, where he was joined yesterday by his close friend and compatriot Luis Boa Morte. The West Ham player flew out from Portugal to a join a group which also includes Portugal's physiotherapist Antonio Gaspar who is apparently working with the player who wants to be physically prepared for when he starts at Real.
Mendes has said that Ronaldo is under instructions not to speak before a deal is sealed. Quotes attributed to the player last week and said to have been the result of a US journalist contacting him in his LA hotel room are understood to have been made up. Despite undergoing physiotherapy, Ronaldo has no injury to take to Madrid when his deal is completed.
Meanwhile, United continued to be linked in Spain with the Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, whose contract talks have stalled over disagreement about his desire for wage parity with some of the European champions' highest-paid outfield players. Xavi earns £150,000 a week compared with Valdes's £100,000. There are persistent reports from Spain that United have made an offer for Valdes to join them the end of next season and may be willing to meet his demands because he would be available on a Bosman free transfer. His agent, Gines Carvajal, has rejected links between Valdes and other teams, though admitted that the contractual issues are proving complicated.