Monday, 22 June 2009

United should have closed Tevez deal when they could

Manchester United rarely lose any player unless they want to, let alone two, but Carlos Tevez has now decided to join Cristiano Ronaldo in quitting the Premier League champions

A souring in the relationship between club and player appears to have proved the main reason for Tevez leaving. Not even the offer of a five-year deal which would have made the Argentine striker one of the highest paid earners at Old Trafford was enough to mend the broken bridges.

The club's fans recognised the value of Tevez to the team, especially after his two goals in the last four games helped clinch a third successive Premier League title and fend off the challenge of arch rivals Liverpool. They chanted at the board as they urged the club to sign him up on a permanent basis for the £25.5m agreed when he joined in 2007.

But in the opinion of United chief executive David Gill, despite the agreed figure, they found that fee "toppy" and the delay in securing Tevez did them no favours.

"From the moment I came here I wanted to sign a longer contract," Tevez said back in September 2008.

"It would be wonderful if the chairman put a long term contract on the table for me. I would sign it without doubt."

Instead, United signed striker Dimitar Berbatov for £30.75m last summer and postponed securing Tevez as they appeared to try to bring down the pricetag. Tevez felt he deserved more for his relentless industry on the pitch and 34 goals - 15 coming last season - in two campaigns.

He talked of being disrespected by the club and the belief that he was not getting as much first-team football as he wanted added to his unhappiness. Ultimately, he chose not to stay and, with Manchester City and Chelsea being linked as his next port of call, he may be accused of making a money-motivated move.

But United had ample opportunity to stop Tevez's head from being swayed into a move elsewhere and manager Sir Alex Ferguson has now been left to secure replacements for two prize players in a competitive market."He did feel a little bit unloved," said Kia Joorabchian, who is adviser to Tevez.

"He made that clear through the process and I think that has forced him to move on."

By Mandeep Sanghera (BBC Sport)

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