Manchester City remain determined that Carlos Tevez will be held to the remaining three years of his £250,000-a-week contract if a suitable offer does not come in for him, despite the latest statement declaring his desire to leave the club.
City are unperturbed and not entirely surprised by the latest development surrounding Tevez's future, which eclipsed news of the club's first summer signing – a cause for celebration. Though the Tevez camp feel City have responded positively and with appreciation of the player's family problems when they contacted them shortly before a Tevez statement was issued last night, City still consider Tevez to be a striker in the Fernando Torres bracket and will therefore not contemplate releasing him for less than £40m, two years into his five-year contract. They actually value him at closer to £50m.
Tevez, who looked happy and relaxed with team-mate Pablo Zabaleta among the Argentina ranks at the Copa America yesterday, issued a statement in which he again cited life without his wife Vanesa and daughters, Katie and Florencia, as reasons why he wants out of City. He has spent a month in Argentina in the company of Vanesa, with whom he has been reunited after a period of separation, and failed to convince her that they can make a life together in Manchester. The Tevez side insist that the family-friendly Latin environment suits Vanesa, who did not settle in England and does not want a high-profile social life, which is why Italy is a possible next destination.
"I hope that the people understand the difficult circumstances I have been living under the past 12 months, in regards to my family," the Tevez statement said. "Living without my children in Manchester has been incredibly challenging for me. Everything I do, I do for my daughters, Katie and Florencia. I need to be closer to them and to spend more time with them. I hope I have done my bit to help City continue their progress towards their ambition to be champions of England and to advance in the Champions League. I have no doubt that the players and management of City will achieve great success in the future."
Tevez's representatives will wait to see if the statement elicits any response today but their problem is that only a handful of the world's elite clubs can afford Tevez and the most likely suitors, Internazionale, have already said the salary is "out of the question." There have been no bids for Tevez, who may even now consider a move to Juventus, sacrificing the prospect of Champions League football altogether to get his escape. Chelsea have not ruled out a bid for the player.
City will not be cowed into offloading Tevez simply because of the threat that he will withdraw his good will and the club are actually more relaxed about the situation than when Tevez last asked for a transfer, in December, because they no longer face the uncertainty of fans' reactions. Tevez came only third in the club's player of the year award placings – a sign that players like Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong are considered to be the current legends of the club. The Blue Moon website forum encapsulated the mood as usual, late last night, in the post which, in a cleaned up form, read: "Sorry Carlos but today is Gaël Clichy day. So if you wouldn't mind... We'll deal with you tomorrow."
There is as yet no sense that City would be willing to take a balance-sheet hit and sell Tevez cheaply simply to remove the distraction which the captain's on-off relationship with the club is causing. But Roberto Mancini may have to consider the effect of Tevez's presence on the morale of his players and the dressing room. At least three City players are known to have expressed the view that they do not want Tevez to be captain next season, though the manager has declared in the past week that he believes Tevez will stay.
Last month, Tevez seemed to be leaning towards staying at Eastlands, declaring that there would not be "a massive void in my life" if he did not leave for either Real Madrid, Barcelona or Inter. "We have the makings of a great team," he said, "and we are heading in the right direction."