The Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak believes that allowing Carlos Tevez to break his five-year contract would be a betrayal of the principles Abu Dhabi want at their club and has made no plea to the Argentine to stay.
The loss of Tevez, in whom no clubs expressed interest yesterday despite him advertising his availability by announcing a desire to quit City late on Monday, would leave the club desperately short of proven strikers.
But Mubarak, who has been at the hub of several telephone calls involving Tevez and his agent Kia Joorabchian, will only allow the striker to leave if a figure approaching City's £50m valuation is met.
Tevez may have a long wait to see if the Italian club most likely to give him an escape route from City — Internazionale — are ready to do so.
With Juventus confined to a season without even Europa League football, Internazionale and Milan are the only two clubs with the resources to bid for Tevez in Italy — his destination of choice.
Milan already have a number of strikers — Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Antonio Cassano, with the popular old-stager Filippo Inzaghi in reserve — and the prevailing view in Italy is that Inter president Massimo Moratti is the individual on whom Tevez is now dependent if he wants |out.
After his club won only the Italian Cup last season, which is considered of minimal value, Moratti is expected to feel the need to make one of the signings with which he likes to shock football. He has said that he dreams of bringing Lionel Messi to San Siro one day.
But with that an even more unthinkable prospect at present than buying Cristiano Ronaldo, the second player on his dream list, Tevez, might be considered a target.
Though Moratti has recently described Tevez's wage demands — he earns £250,000-a-week at City — as “out of the question” and said the “market is crazy at the moment”, the riches generated by his family's oil refining business do make Tevez's salary as achievable for Inter as for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan at City.
The presence at Inter of Tevez's Argentina team-mates Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso have heightened the appeal of the side to the striker.
But with no clubs responding immediately to the Tevez statement, City were certainly not exuding the mood of a club in any state of despair or panic, reminding the football world that Tevez is only two years into a five-year deal which no-one forced him to sign.