Roberto Mancini has spoken of his conviction that Carlos Tevez will be persuaded to stay at Manchester City and suggested the Argentinian was “not really unhappy” and could be talked out of leaving the club.
The City manager said he would inform Tevez that he must honour his contract when they meet on Friday to clarify the position of the striker, who handed in a written transfer request last week and has described his relationship with the club’s chief executive, Garry Cook, as “broken and beyond repair”.
Mancini admitted to being disappointed by Tevez’s conduct, particularly the timing at a point in the season when City have been challenging for the top spot in the Premier League, but he chose his words carefully and made sure not to criticise the player.
“The last time I spoke to him was last Wednesday and it was then he told me this [that he wanted to leave],” Mancini said. “I haven’t spoken to him since but Carlos has over three years remaining on his contract, he is our player and it’s my opinion that Carlos will stay with us.
“I don’t think he is unhappy, really unhappy. I don’t think he wants to leave. He told me [he did] but he never told me this until four or five days ago and, because of that, I think we can change his mind. We have had a good start to the season, an important season, and Carlos is an important player for us. I have been in Italy and he has been in Tenerife so I have not had the chance to speak to him this week but I will see him on Friday and I will say that he must stay here.”
Mancini, pressed on why he thought the striker did not want to leave bearing in mind the Tevez camp have maintained all week that he would not be dissuaded, repeatedly said it was a personal matter and not a ploy to extract more money out of the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi.
“I think we can always change his mind,” Mancini said. “Maybe there is another reason [for submitting the transfer request]. He is an important player for us who has already scored 10 goals. If Carlos is “unhappy” at the moment but has scored 10 goals, I hope he will be unhappy for the rest of the season. Together, we can change the history of the club.”
The outcome of Friday’s discussions will determine Mancini’s next step, with the question of the captaincy one of the many issues to be resolved. But the indications from the Italian were that he wants the talks to be conciliatory, acutely aware that losing Tevez in the middle of the season could be a fatal blow to the team’s aspirations this season.
There was no suggestion in Mancini’s words that Tevez, left out of tomorrow’s Europa League tie against Juventus, will not be included when City play at home to Everton on Monday.
Mancini also opted to be diplomatic when asked whether he felt Tevez had been badly advised in the face of growing resentment within the club about the influence Kia Joorabchian holds over the player. The manager chose not to talk about Joorabchian’s perceived role although, by stating he was not convinced Tevez had been unhappy in the first place, he was expanding on the club’s belief that the player has been talked into doing something against his wishes.
Tevez’s representatives initially said he wanted to move as a consequence of his daughters, Florencia and Katia, living in Buenos Aires now that he is separated from their mother, Vanessa. Tevez was said to be hoping to put in place a move to Spain, ideally Real Madrid, in the belief that his family would follow him.
That position has now altered, with Tevez keeping to the story of him being unhappy in Manchester but saying the main reason for wanting a transfer is that “certain executives and individuals”, namely Cook and the football administrator, Brian Marwood, have allegedly broken promises to him. As yet he has not elaborated on what that means.
“I’m disappointed because I think that we are in a good moment [form-wise] and we have a good position in the table,” Mancini said. “Our focus must be on making sure this continues but I do want to speak to him. It is important because we have Everton on Monday and some very important games coming up this month. I repeat, Carlos has three years on his contract and, yes, I want him to stay. He can continue to play for us.”
Mancini is also hoping that Tevez’s team-mates will tell him they think he is making a mistake. The midfielder Patrick Vieira said: “We haven’t talked about it among the players but in the last few days what I can say is that, in training, he has been the same Carlos that started the season.”