Carlos Tevez played his last game for Manchester City on Sunday. Fact? No, at least not yet. But I'd be stunned if the Argentinian is in English football by the start of the next campaign. Tevez is a fabulous football player; he's been part of a magical season, helped City tweak United when it was useful to do so and would be welcome on any team in the world. I'm also convinced that he's done with City.
As regular readers of this column know, I've been convinced that Tevez would leave since the start of the season. There are a number of reasons both on and off the field for this.
The first of these is the most often quoted and frankly the least important. Tevez has said on numerous occasions that he misses his family in Argentina after he split with the mother of his children and she returned to South America. That Tevez will end up back in Argentina, probably playing for Boca Juniors, at some point is a given. My money would be on this occurring in three year's time after the next world cup. Between now and then moving to Spain or Italy isn't going to bring Tevez that much closer to Argentina in practical terms. Be that as it may, this is one of the reasons often quoted for the potential unhappiness of the City captain.
The second reason I believe Tevez will leave is that, despite the protestation of Mancini that the striker is a critical part of the team, the Italian's team building belies that. Balotelli and Dzeko, both bought by Mancini, are the two central strikers that you need to successfully run an Inter diamond. You also need a world class attacking/creative midfielder, take a bow David Silva and full backs that overlap to provide the necessary width. Those would be Boateng and Kolarov. This is a team that Mancini has concocted and it not only doesn't need a Tevez style striker, ultimately such a style is a detriment to the overall team play when playing the diamond. City have played 4-3-2-1 and 4-2-3-1 this season in part, I believe, because Tevez doesn't partner well up front with either of the big strikers. Now a Tevez style striker, high work rate, fox in the box goal poacher is needed in a squad and I would expect City to add an experienced player as a reserve to fill that role.
The third reason I've always felt Tevez would leave is that he was signed by Mark Hughes and was a Hughes loyalist. If you recall when reports of Hughes firing came down a number of players were listed as having angrily confronted the executive management of City over the move. Bellamy (sent to Cardiff), Adebayor (sent to Real Madrid), Given (replaced by Joe Hart), Barry and Tevez. James Milner to me is the natural replacement for Barry and was bought, by Mancini, with that long term move in mind which leaves Tevez. For too valuable a goal scorer to send packing immediately, but Balotelli and Dzeko now provide that cover.
Mancini is quite clearly his own man and has moved to fill the team with players that are loyal to him. City would have finished higher in the table with Bellamy still on this team, but the Italian appears to have essentially taken the gamble to do it his way or no way at all.
If we buy into the Mancini revolution at City, then we buy in all the way. And that means Tevez is gone.
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