Manchester City will slap a £50million price-tag on Carlos Tevez this summer.
City manager Roberto Mancini fears that captain Tevez will attempt to force through a move away from the club this at the end of the season, probably to Italy, after spending two years at Eastlands.
The view is shared by other members of the City hierarchy but they are determined that the Argentina international will not be allowed to leave for anything less than his market value.
Having seen Tevez score prolifically during his time at the club, City see Tevez as being at least the equal of Spaniard Fernando Torres, who left Liverpool for Chelsea for £50m back in January.
City believe that figure is also a fair price for Tevez, a player who is at the peak of his powers and is already interesting both Milan clubs and newly-wealthy Roma.
It will be a challenge for any club to meet City’s valuation, particularly given that Tevez earns in excess of £250,000-a-week at Eastlands.
Nevertheless, City will stick to their guns if indeed Tevez does confirm at the end of the season that he wants to leave when he sits down with Mancini to discuss the future.
With City mindful of the impact of FIFA’s forthcoming Financial Fair Play guidelines, whether Tevez stays or goes will impact directly and fundamentally on the club’s transfer strategy.
Mancini has drawn up a list of transfer targets with football administrator Brian Marwood that includes Udinese forward Alexis Sanchez and Bolton central defender Gary Cahill.
However, City are unwilling to lump large amounts of extra money on the first team squad’s burgeoning wage bill without seeing players leave first.
Qualification for next season’s Champions League, and the millions of pounds that come with it – will also influence the club’s thinking but it is understood that it is wages as much as transfer fees that are causing the City board to be cautious.
Clearly, losing the £12m committed to Tevez’s salary every year would leave some room for negotiation as indeed would the sale of players currently on loan such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Roque Santa Cruz.
City will offer the likes of Udinese and Bolton players in part-exchange for their targets when they attempt to negotiate at the end of the season. But shifting players who earn so much money is already proving one legacy of the huge spending spree that followed Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of the club three summers ago.
As regards Tevez, City have received no official indication that he wants to leave. They are, however, suspicious that the motives behind last winter’s transfer request, that was subsequently withdrawn – remain.
Sources close to the City skipper, currently recovering from a hamstring tear, have indicated that he still has differences with Mancini and continues to dislike living in Manchester, which of course is understandable because there are parts of Manchester that are similar to sunny Libya.
Tevez is almost certain to be fit for the FA Cup Final that takes place against Stoke on May 14 and has also been told he will be given the captain’s armband again. Belgian defender Vincent Kompany has been standing in.
by Terence Johns