The controversies surrounding Carlos Tevez’s initial move to England with West Ham have been replaced by other equally infamous stories. The transfer from the red half of Manchester to the blue; the retreat to Argentina following the episode at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich; the persistent stories linking him with a move away.
Is it so bad that no other English club – a fourth English club – has found use for the 29-year-old? Almost as if to say, collectively, the Premier League is sorry to let go of such a headline-producing figure.
£10 million rising to £12 million may seem like peanuts in today’s market – because it is. Tevez may be at that stage of his career where it’s his ‘last big contract,’ but he’s still a 20 goal-a-season striker, more than capable of leading the charge for any of the top teams in Europe. Yet it isn’t such a bad thing that Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have failed to capitalise on his move out of the Etihad Stadium.
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The unwavering power in his game, the desire shown on the pitch and the capacity to match the very best he’s thrown in against would indicate that Juventus have indeed landed a star striker, the club now fully able to launch potentially devastating tandem with Fernando Llorente also in the fold as they seek their third Serie A title in as many years. But Italy is new to Tevez, it’s a different adventure and one where the poorly taken steps of his career in England won’t be so pronounced.
Juventus don’t need a star to legitimise their efforts for this season. The Italian champions have Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, a monster three-man backline headed by Giorgio Chiellini; Tevez is joining a proven group of winners and adding to their bid to transfer domestic success onto the European stage. It would be completely different at any of the three suggested teams in England.
It shouldn’t be misinterpreted: for his abilities and contributions on the pitch, Tottenham and Arsenal would both see value in Tevez, combined with the minimal fee Manchester City have reduced themselves to. It’s the off-pitch personality that neither team need.
Spurs are already dealing with the persistent nuisance from abroad with regards to Gareth Bale and Andre Villas-Boas is trying to reshape a squad in his own image – one that saw him to such success while managing in Portugal. Like their north London rivals, Tottenham also need a marquee name in attack, someone who can finally take them over the line and help to secure Champions League football on a regular basis. Tevez, however, isn’t the long-term fix they need. On the pitch he’ll do what they need and probably more. Off it, you never know what you’re going to get. Coupled with his wage demands that were unlikely to deviate too far from his previous contract at Manchester City, it just rounds out to a deal that Spurs could have afforded to miss.
The lack of interest from within the Premier League for Tevez – his most notable suitors ahead of Juventus were Monaco and PSG – should also say a lot about the value English clubs have found abroad. Tevez isn’t the only 20 goal-a-season striker who could be had for a financial package that amounts to a good investment. Can anyone really argue that Arsenal haven’t picked up a better deal in Gonzalo Higuain if the mooted £22 million deal goes ahead? What about Tottenham and the links they have with Leandro Damiao and Roberto Soldado? One is a proven goal scorer in Europe, while the former is a Brazilian international with the potential to further enhance his reputation in the Premier League.
For Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool, it makes absolutely no sense. The club are targeting bargain buys in the most literal sense of the phrase, all the while ensuring that they remain smart in their building and receive the best return for their meagre outlay. Should Luis Suarez depart Anfield this summer, a replacement like Tevez might not do a lot to totally appease supporters. The Argentine isn’t a player who you can invest a lengthy project in. Adding his age into the mix, it doesn’t fit the bill for what the club are looking for on the transfer front.
An interesting (or damning) stat is that Tevez hasn’t scored in the Champions League since his final season at Old Trafford. Of course, there was the fallout from the incident at the Allianz Arena, but then City could have done with someone of his experience in the competition last season when they failed to advance out of the group stage yet again. The player himself doesn’t need a project; he needs to go where the pressure is lessened significantly.
Manchester City may have an immediate feeling that they didn’t quite get value for money in the sale of Tevez – Robin van Persie and Andriy Shevchenko are comparable transfers. But Premier League clubs haven’t missed a beat by any means. There are far better options suited to the needs of Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal. At 29, the Argentine isn’t quite at the age anymore to be considered a signing of great intent.
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