This weekend’s Manchester derby will provide the red half of the city with another opportunity to tell Carlos Tevez of their feelings on his career choice. Despite a successful two-year spell at Old Trafford, Tevez moved to City last summer seemingly feeling unwanted. United meanwhile, claimed they did everything they could to keep him – the truth probably lies somewhere in between.
Tevez’s first season at Eastlands has certainly been eventful. City goaded their rivals with the infamous ‘Welcome To Manchester’ banner and Tevez had a very public spat with former teammate Gary Neville. He then had to return to Argentina when his newborn daughter fell ill, and in recent days Tevez has also expressed his concerns in the media regarding how much training they are expected to do under Roberto Mancini.
To his credit, on the field of play, Tevez has got on with the job. A return of 22 league goals make him City’s top scorer and he has become a talismanic figure. His robust, energetic style is well suited to English football and he has deservedly been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award. While Tevez is still playing at the highest level and could well be back in the Champions League next season, his performances over the current campaign beg the questions – should Manchester United have made more of effort to keep him and, assuming Tevez was offered a contract, should he have stayed?
With Ronaldo gone, Michael Owen injured and Dimitar Berbatov clearly short of confidence and support, United are relying heavily on Wayne Rooney. When Rooney isn’t there it’s difficult to see where the goals will come from, as higlighted by the draw at Blackburn where Berbatov and Federico Marcheda struggled. At the moment they are crying out for another top-class striker – had Tevez remained at United, he would have made more starts in Rooney’s absence and appeared less from the bench.
However, it seems that Tevez thrives in an environment where he is the main man, and appears less comfortable in a supporting role. In the long-term, Tevez would still have been viewed as back-up at Old Trafford, particularly with Sir Alex Ferguson often playing Rooney as a lone striker, with support from midfield.
While he didn’t keep West Ham in the Premier League single-handedly back in 2007, Tevez was the driving force behind their survival. This season much has been expected of him again, and after a slow start, he has become City’s top striker. Carlos Tevez seems comfortable and is enjoying his football at a club heading in the right direction. The move across Manchester seems to have been the right one.