Manchester City have agreed the sale of Carlos Tevez to Juventus for £10m - at least a third of the fee they paid for him - and with the player likely to agree personal terms, the club look likely to lose his £200,000-a-week wages.
The transfer of Tevez on a three-year deal - agreed on the second day of Manuel Pellegrini's reign as City manager - will deliver the club a base transfer fee of 9m euros (£7.6m), though the sum will reach the £10m mark with some of the add-ons Juve have agreed to, which include 1m euros (£848,000) for every year the Italians qualify for the Champions League. But it is the wages and bonuses which they must lose, as an already a summer in which they have laid out £45m on Jesus Navas and Fernandinho will become more of a drain on their resources, with a replacement striker critical after Tevez's departure. City have made an verbal enquiry in the last month about the Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, though they face a battle in their attempts to sign him. Attempts to sign Napoli's Edison Cavani have failed.
The lack of agreement on personal terms means the deal is not complete and Tevez may not immediately fly to Turin for a medical today because of that. But he is understood to be happy with the highly incentivised package on the table and negotiations are understood to be 90 per cent complete.
Sources in Italy last night suggested that Tevez, 29, would earn 5.5m euros (£4.6m) a year in Italy with substantial bonuses based on appearances and goals, which represents a near halving of the terms which saw him brought to City from Old Trafford. Yet he has always hankered after playing in Serie A. He feels he will join a strong, young side and a club which is some ways is still bigger than City, if less well resourced.
City moved rapidly to agreed terms. Chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain met Juve officials in London late this morning and within a few hours were ready to call the player's representative, Kia Joorabchian, and ask him if he was prepared to talk to the Italians. Despite rumours in Italy, as of Monday night the Tevez camp were in the dark about the club's intentions and still seeking a conversation with them.
The club wanted to be rid of the Tevez wages, as the strive to comply with the strictures of Uefa's Financial Fair Play regime. The club stressed last night that they were saving themselves £17m for the remaining year of the Argentine' contract - £10.6m in basic wages and a further £6.4m in unspecified bonuses. Though that adds up to a gain of £27m, the cost in wages and bonuses of the player's would offset that figure in real terms.
The add-ons to the transfer fee for City will include one million euros (£848,000) for each year that the Italian side win the Italian title or Champions League, as well as the same figure for Champions League qualification. If the transfer is agreed, it will leave City with just two experienced strikers - Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero, who has recently signed an extension to his deal.
Tevez's departure would mean the departure from English football of one of the most controversial figures of modern times who, despite his high profile row with Pellegrini's predecessor Roberto Mancini, has played a key part in the club's development into a side who represent a genuine challenge to his former club.
Tevez has been in English football for seven years and though he never fully adapted to life in the country and struggled to grasp the language, he has been a rich addition to the Premier League. Though he fell out spectacularly with Mancini by refusing to go onto the field of lay in a Champions League tie at Bayern Munich the season before last, the club's Abu Dhabi ownership have never forgotten the way he disappeared to Argentina in November 2011 - effectively going on strike - when his transfer request was not granted. The strike cost Tevez £9.3m in fines, docked wages and sacrificed loyalty bonuses.
The full-back opened talks with City last week and though the two sides have yet to reach agreement on a new four-year deal, there is no suggestion of any impasse. Inter feel that they be an attractive alternative for Richards, since he has played relatively little football in the last year during which he was plagued by a long- running knee injury. City do not want to lose the player, one of their few home grown talents.