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Breaking down the United-Tevez-Kia tug of war

So it has come to pass. Manchester United have announced that Carlos Tevez has decided to reject United’s offer to make his loan move permanent. Here’s the statement:

Following contact received from Carlos Tevez’s advisors last night, in advance of the deadline the Club set for concluding negotiations, Manchester United announces that Carlos will not be signing a new contract with the Club. The Club agreed to pay the option price of £25.5m and offered Carlos a five-year contract which would have made him one of its highest paid players. Disappointingly however, his advisors informed the Club that, despite the success he has enjoyed during one of the Club’s most successful periods, he does not wish to continue playing for Manchester United. The Club would like to thank Carlos for his services over the last two seasons and wishes him good luck for the future.

As drab as official statements usually go, it does confirm the word going around that United did indeed offer the option price of £25.5m for Tevez. It confirms that our option price was £25.5m. That price, since it was known by the club for a while now, was clearly excessive in my opinion — which is why David Gill was perhaps hoping, over time, to haggle with Kia Joorabchian to bring his price down.

Now, there is a valid case to be made about the treatment meted out by the club towards Tevez. But, whilst Tevez gave everything he could on the pitch, his attitude off it needed to be questioned. I understood his frustration at being marginalised at the club by Fergie upon Berbatov’s arrival, and excused him when he went public about it in a radio interview in South America, back in December. I was willing to understand his point of view when he again did it in February/March. But he kept doing this as the season wound up towards its closing stages; his reaction upon scoring the goal against City; him playing the victim card using the massive fan support as a stick to beat the club with made me wonder what he’s really upto.

What shocked me was the willingness of the fans to boo Ferguson when he substituted Tevez, and even drown out the manager’s address to the crowd. What the hell were they thinking?

Following the Tevez deal cancellation announcement, Kia Joorabchian clarified his side of things:

“When Man United made their offer about ten days ago, for the first time in two years, we never went back to them to ask about money. We just asked for some time to think about it. Obviously they have had two years to think about it and Carlos had to make a decision based on his family. Just to make it clear, this has been Carlos’ decision. Nobody else would make this decision for him. We didn’t actually reject the offer. Manchester United have ruled themselves out of the running. We actually asked for more time and if they could not give that we would have to walk away. He wants time to digest it and to know which club would suit him because now he is committing the next five years of his future.”

Now this makes little sense to me. Joorabchian said that Tevez needed more time to think this over. But, ironically, it was Tevez who went public on two things:

1. that he always wanted to stay at United, and it was United that didn’t seem to want him. He in fact said that he’d sign up in a flash had they offered him a deal, not too long ago.
2. that he ruled out Spain and feels settled in England, and liked the fact that his daughter feels happy growing up in England.

Kia’s suggestion seems to contradict these two points because it makes it seem like Tevez actually feels the need for time to decide between United and City, when it doesn’t even involve moving house. He says he needed time to figure out which team would suit him. But is there even a choice to be made between City and United? Sure, he’ll get more starts in City, but would it meet his ambition right now?

He says his close relationship with the fans meant that he wouldn’t go to Liverpool, but Kia also mentioned Chelsea as an option. Now a Chelsea move wouldn’t infuriate United fans as much as had he moved to Liverpool, but they still are a title rival and to me, that would certainly disappoint. City, not being a threat at present wouldn’t present the same challenge. Also I doubt he can be assured of starts even in Chelsea, something that’s been a thorny issue for him at United.

But leave all that aside. Joorabchian goes on to add:

“If it was, let’s say, Wayne Rooney’s contract finishing six months before, or Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract finishing six months before, would they have tried to secure their services a bit sooner? He has that little bit of a feeling that maybe he wasn’t the most wanted person at United. Rightly or wrongly, that’s how he feels.”

Now regarding Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo there is a major difference. Regardless of who the player is, if the club owned the player, they are never going to let his contract run down. In Tevez’s case, we never owned him, so it wasn’t a bad idea to see how he performs over the season to ensure he’s worth his asking price.

It now hits me, and shocks me that United actually offered £25.5m and Tevez might have actually accepted it. This is over the £9m that it cost to bring him to the club on loan. Tevez is a really good player, but certainly not world class, which is what those sums of money dictate. My mind boggles if I think about how we would have bought a striker that might do a lot of running and grafting but isn’t really a better player than Rooney or Ronaldo. And for a striker that demands such transfer fees, he would have to score a lot of goals to justify it.

I find it sad it had to end like this. But I can’t say I’m too sad to see him go. I would have found it hard to wrap my head around overpaying for a good player. I am actually glad United showed some urgency in enforcing the strict deadline to show that they need to resolve this issue before sorting out the squad for the next season.

Here’s hoping for the same decisiveness whilst dipping into the transfer market.

On Tevez, we sincerely wish him the best of luck, as long as he doesn’t score against us. (It’s nice to see he had the good sense to reject the cesspool; we’ll grant him that.)