Poor old Roberto Mancini never seems to get a day to himself at Manchester City these days, and what with Carlos Tevez‘s recent ill-timed foray into fate-tempting, it seems overly likely that the harangued Italian’s next day of rest may fall sometime next July.
Mancini has revealed that he plans to hold a bout of talks with Tevez tomorrow, and the City manager is confident that he will be able to stem his restless striker’s homesickness by reminding him that he is duty-bound to honour the remaining three-and-a-half years of his contract at Eastlands which, upon expiration, should have left the idling forward with just enough time to establish himself as one of the Premier League outfits’ all-time ‘greats’.
Tiptoeing around the subject, Mancini clarified his position to the gathered press yesterday evening, taking special care not to say anything that could be construed as incendiary by his wayward Argentinian bill-topper:
“I will speak with [Tevez] on Friday. I want to speak to him, as he has three-and-a-half years left on his contract.
I am disappointed [by the transfer request] because we are in a good moment and in a good position in the table, our focus must be on this.”
Mancini also admitted that, although he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Tevez since the striker officially ‘dropped the bomb’ last week, he is still confident that a suitable arrangement is within reach:
“The last time I spoke to him was last Wednesday and it was then he told me [that he wanted to leave]. I haven’t spoken to him since.
But Carlos has over three years remaining on his contract, he is our player and it’s my opinion that Carlos will stay with us.”
The Italian continued, treading on eggshells as he waltzed through a potential minefield of questioning:
“I don’t think he is unhappy, really unhappy. I don’t think he wants to leave. He told me [he did] but he never told me this until four or five days ago and, because of that, I think we can change his mind.
We have had a good start to the season, an important season, and Carlos is an important player for us.
I have been in Italy and he has been in Tenerife so I have not had the chance to speak to him this week, but I will see him on Friday and I will say that he must stay here.”
The definitive word? As per usual, only time will tell – and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this one is going to drag on for a considerable while yet.
When repeatedly pressed on what he deemed to be the reasoning behind Tevez’s stirring, Mancini took the diplomatic route by stressing that he thought he it to be a personal matter rather than being an under-handed ploy by the player’s puppet-master/representative Kia Joorabchian to ransom yet more swathes of petro-dollars from the Abu Dhabi group’s bottomless vat.
The City manager insisted that he believes Tevez could yet have his arm twisted into staying at Eastlands, a belief that sits in stark contrast to the rigid stance that has been emanating from the Tevez camp all week:
“I think we can always change his mind. Maybe there is another reason [for the transfer request]. He is an important player for us who has already scored 10 Premier League goals.
If Carlos is ‘unhappy’ at the moment but has scored 10 goals, I hope he will be unhappy for the rest of the season!
Together, we can change the history of the club. We have this good group and Carlos is an important player for us. He can be great.”
One man who shares Mancini’s optimism is former Oasis guitarist and avid City superfan Noel Gallagher who, given the national media’s skewed grasp of ‘relevance’, was immediately canvassed for his opinion on the creeping Tevez saga – to which he replied:
“I’d put money on [Tevez] being around next season. It looks like he has two choices – he either leaves or he retires. For a guy who can’t even speak English, how are we supposed to believe he has got a relationship with the executives in the first place?
Unless he’s been trying to get himself a new deal, I don’t buy it. He’s already at f**king City!
He can’t say ‘I want to go Man City because they are offering me £200,000-a-week when he’s already getting about £280,000-a-week out of us.
He’s been the best player we have ever had in my book and, as long as he is doing it on the pitch, they won’t turn. I won’t be booing him anyway.”
So that’s a ‘definite maybe’, is it Noel?