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About this Tévez blowup

13 December 2010

Carlos Tévez's agent, advisor, and former owner Kia Joorabchian is striking back against City.

Fed up with endless criticism of the club by the UK media, often times fueled by leaked accounts of dressing room incidents and other internal matters, City swung into action last week, informing a couple of people very close to City players that they were no longer welcome at the club. You may have read Ian Wright’s disclosure of his “banning” in his piece for The Sun, but it’s the other party made persona non grata who is making all the headlines this week.

Last week on Blue Moon, City insiders revealed Carlos Tévez’s agent and advisor, Kia Joorabchian, had met with a similar fate as Wright-Phillips’s adopted father. After enjoying a cozy relationship with Joorabchian, City have fingered Joorabchian as the party responsible for leaks like the story of the row between Tévez and Roberto Mancini in the dressing room at half time of the Newcastle match.

One only can speculate as to the reason Joorabchian would bite the hand that is feeding him by stabbing the club in the back in such a way. One very likely cause is the City brass’s decision to take on what they feel are exorbitant fees paid to agents as part of transfer deals. After spending nearly £13m in agents fees in 2009, City paid out just £5.95m this year, despite another round of heavy transfer spending.

The scuttlebutt around Blue Moon of impending trouble between the captain and his club looked to be way off-base last Monday when the City official site published a two-part video interview with Tévez, in which the striker said, “I’m happy here. I really am.” The club had bent over backwards to accommodate his trips to see his daughters in Argentina, where his estranged wife had returned after Tévez took up with a 19-year old.

Yet it was reported by the Daily Mail on Saturday evening that Tévez had submitted a written transfer request just days later. By the next morning, City had issued a statement confirming the player’s request and stating that it had been rejected. The club proceeded to go on the offensive in the statement, explaining that they were “disappointed by this situation and particularly with the actions of Carlos’ representative.” Even more explosive was the revelation by the club that Joorabchian had approached them about a new contract for Tévez “numerous” times during this season.

The response from the Tévez camp came later that night, and it was a bizarre one. While kissing up to supporters to try to keep them onside and avoid what we saw from United fans toward Wayne Rooney a couple of months ago, it says the “relationship with certain executives and individuals at the club has broken down and is now beyond repair.” Even stranger, the statement went out of the way to stress that the supposedly strained relationship with Roberto Mancini wasn’t an issue.

Despite the statement’s insistence that Tévez turned down a new deal and a one-off bonus to give the appearance the disagreement isn’t over money, this simply isn’t the case. A “source close to Tévez” that presumably can be assumed to be Joorabchian or one of his underlings, subsequently admitted there was a recent offer and counteroffer for a new deal, indicating that the player was looking for an improved deal to stay.

The ridiculousness of a non-English speaking player citing differences with club executives, with whom he should have little or no interaction, and downplaying differences with his manager as rationale for a transfer request simply is beyond words. The Tévez camp simply are trying out every possible excuse for this move in hopes one of them resonates and sticks, when Occam’s Razor points squarely as this being about money — for the player and his agent.

How this all will resolve itself is a mystery to us all. Today brings word that Tévez will be back in training on Tuesday, and possibly available for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Juventus. Whether Mancini would play him in a relatively meaningless match is another story, though with City not playing again until Monday, it’s a possibility. If he does play, I expect Tévez to be stripped of the club captaincy, which should go to Vincent Kompany.

In the longer term, I don’t expect Tévez to be sold in January. This summer is when things will get interesting. Assuming there still are clubs out there willing to a) bring in a guy who frankly comes off sounding bipolar and crazy in his public statements and keeps talking of retirement; and b) meet City’s asking price, then perhaps he’ll be on the move. I’m just not convinced either of these will happen.

As long as Tévez is willing to train and play hard, I say keep sending him out there. If the day comes when he either refuses or becomes a disruptive force, stick him in the reserves to rot for the remainder of his 3.5-year contract. Then we’ll see how loyal he is to Joorabchian.

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