It's time Manchester City cut their losses on Carlos Tevez
Published 06/07/2011 | 15:23
Has anyone ever sat down with Carlos Tevez and tried to explain to him some of the requirements of truly growing up?
Has he been told that millions upon millions of his fellow human beings do in fact know what it is to suffer dislocation in their personal lives, and enforced separation from their loved ones, sometimes simultaneously with the daily risk of having their heads or various limbs blown off?
Or that so very few of them are paid the best part of £1m a month and thus have the chance to reach a mature and equable solution?
The answer is obviously yes and judging by the look of strain that appears on his handsome features whenever Tevez is mentioned, Roberto Mancini has been most burdened with the task.
Now, though, it seems the worst of the ordeal may be over for the Manchester City manager with the suggestion that the club chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, is not only "sanguine" about the consequences of the latest overwrought effusions from the player but prepared to come up with around £40m for a ready-made replacement.
The nomination is apparently Atletico Madrid's excellent young striker, and Diego Maradona's son-in-law, Sergio Aguero, who on top of his other virtues offers the possibility that he will understand the world is not likely to fall from its axis if he happens to notice the sun isn't shining over his mansion in one of the most pleasant suburbs of Manchester.
It will, of course, be understandable enough if some City fans get upset if the big football market warms to Tevez's belief that, at anywhere up to £50m, he represents outstanding value.
True, he regularly sneers at a city which was good enough for John Barbirolli, while rescuing the Hallé Orchestra from the ravages of the Luftwaffe, George Best, Bert Trautmann, Eric Cantona, Malcolm Allison, Clive Lloyd and the wonderful flyweight Jackie Brown, somewhere which pioneered the Industrial Revolution, any number of major engineering and medical innovations and to this day remains a place which can separate most men from their pretensions as quickly as any place on earth.
But then Tevez can play and whatever the state of his ego, however inflated it had become, he has always done it with superb commitment and drive for City and before that, Manchester United and West Ham.
No, he is not as good as he sometimes seems to think he is, but this is not to say he is not the most formidable of players and, indeed, someone who has been utterly fundamental to City's march into the elite of English football and the dawn of their challenge in Europe.
Tevez at times has been City, a source of unending self-belief and certainty in a team that often seemed shackled both by Mancini's cautious tactics and an unshakeable sense that they were a collection of warring and, in some cases, overpriced individuals.
Tevez's worst critic could not dispute the huge part he played in gathering in the confidence that brought City's first trophy of their new age, at the expense of United, and enabled them to leapfrog Arsenal. When City produced the first hard evidence last season that champions Chelsea might not be the team some of us thought they were, it was Tevez who made the point most impressively.
He seized upon the uncertainties of John Terry and Ashley Cole and scored the decisive goal. In last summer's World Cup, Maradona said that "Carlito" was at the heart of the Argentina effort – the player most eager to do everything he could for the team.
Now, he tells the City fans: "I hope the people understand the difficult circumstances I have been living under for the past 12 months in regards to my family. Living without my children in Manchester has been incredibly challenging for me. Everything I do, I do for my daughters, Katie and Florencia."
Some fans may want to balance such pleading against the dismissive performance their erstwhile hero put in recently on a chat show back in Buenos Aires. He told his sympathetic interrogator that he couldn't bear the idea of living in Manchester – with or without his girls. Manchester was "small and wet" and when it was over with City he simply couldn't countenance the idea of returning for any reason, and least of all a holiday.
Tevez should go, as soon as any major club is prepared to take the best of him and live with the rest, the foibles, the mood swings and, most disturbingly, the overweening belief in his supreme right to perfect happiness.
City want to be one of the most important clubs in football. They have come some of the way. Far enough, certainly, to know that it is time to turn their backs on the pantomime emotions of Carlos Tevez.