Manchester United has finally confirmed what many have known for some time – Carlos Tevez will leave the club after two years at Old Trafford. Fans’ favourite Tevez leaves United having scored 34 goals in 99 appearances for the club since arriving from West Ham.
In a statement on the club’s website, United confirmed that following “contact received from Carlos Tevez’s advisors last night, in advance of the deadline the Club set for concluding negotiations, Manchester United announces that Carlos will not be signing a new contract with the Club.”
United confirmed that they had agreed to take up the option on Tevez at the £25.5 million fee demanded by the owners of his economic rights, MSI, in addition to offering Tevez what is believed to be more than £100,000 per week. Despite having an ‘in principal’ agreement in place to sign Tevez for more than a year, United’s hierachy has delayed confirming the transfer while they haggled over a price that, in managing director’s David Gill’s words, was a “bit toppy.” Having paid around £10 million in loan fees over the past two yeras, the combined fee would have made Tevez United’s record signing and among the top five earners at the club.
In reality, while Tevez has become a highly popular player both amongst the squad and supporters, his ability and performance on the pitch over the past two seasons are far short of justifying the exhorbitant fee. With Manchester City and Chelsea waiting in the wings, Tevez will get the big money move his owners are demanding. But United’s board have been inadvertently saved from making what could turn out to be a costly mistake in recruiting the little Argentinian a massive expense.
Tevez has become highly popular for his all-energy performances, putting no little effort whether starting or coming off the bench. But in turning down United’s lucrative approach Tevez has revealed his true motivations. Firstly, he will move to Chelsea or Manchester City for a vast increase in wages – possibly as high as £150,000 a week at City. Secondly, his desire to be a bigger fish – his apparent dejection at United born from a desire to start the biggest games – reveals a hitherto unknown ego.
Most importantly, however, Tevez just isn’t good enough to justify the fee, no matter how much United may have in the bank following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. Technically Tevez’ first touch is poor, his pace no better than average and his goalscoring record nowhere near good enough for a £30 million plus striker. His 19 Premier League goals have come from 49 starts and 14 from the bench. Just five league goals in the past season. Additionally he has six Champions League strikes from 10 starts and 11 games from the bench. He has nine more goals from the League and FA Cups, where United has often fielded weaker sides against lower league opposition.
Tevez’ departure leaves manager Sir Alex Ferguson with the double headache of replacing both the Argentinean and Ronaldo. However, the arrival of Antonio Valencia is still likely, despite recent posturing by Wigan Athletic’s Chairman Dave Whelan aimed at driving up the price. Moreover, United are now expected to put in a large offer in for Olympique Lyonnais’ hugely talented striker Karim Benzema. The transfer of Benzema is by no means certain, with a number of clubs interested in the French international. At more than £30 million Benzema also presents a huge risk, while Tevez was very much a known quanity.
But Sir Alex has not built his career on playing safe. He might not believe it this morning, but the loss of is unlikely to be the devastating blow many rivals will hope. That MSI managing director Kia Joorabchian claimed this morning that Tevez’ hadn’t “actually rejected the offer. Carlos needed time. We never ever at any time asked them for more money. We just asked for time to think about it,” is telling. United are already looking to the future.