If the proverbial martian landed on earth and flicked through the sports headlines at the moment she/he would be puzzled about what is going on with footballer Carlos Tevez.
Let’s get this straight:
- He is one of the world’s best players who has been instrumental in the success of every club he has represented
- He hasn’t played for his current club Manchester City since the end of September because of a breakdown in relations with the manager
- Manchester City had to wait until the January “transfer window” to try to sell him
- Transfer negotiations with Paris St Germain seem to have fallen through, as they did previously with Brazilian club Corinthians plus AC Milan and Inter Milan
- Manchester City probably don’t want to sell him to one of their rival English clubs
- They are believed to be holding out for a price of about £25m
- Meanwhile, Tevez and his advisers are earning a very large sum of money (£200,000 per week is often quoted)
- That leaves a total of perhaps five clubs in the world who could afford him, all of whom would be wary of ending up in a similar situation to Manchester City
The result is stalemate. Commentators in recent weeks have written stories ruling out potential moves to QPR, Tottenham, Real Madrid, a club in Dubai and probably others. Many believe that a deal will be done in the final hours or minutes of the transfer window on 31 January when Manchester City will have to accept a reduced price in order to avoid being saddled with a very expensive non-playing player for the rest of the season.
Journalists will be camped outside the club’s stadium for at least 48 hours, waiting for an announcement. If the martian happens to turn on Sky Sports News on “Transfer Deadline Day” such will be the sense of impending apocalypse that she/he will probably believe that the countdown clock is tracking the final hours before the end of the world.
Tevez is presumably sitting quietly somewhere, watching and waiting, wondering where he will be moving to in the next few weeks, what it will be like playing there, how the players and fans will react to him.
There have been numerous stories about Tevez being depressed and homesick. Depression is a serious illness whose prevalence among professional athletes has only recently begun to attract attention. Unfortunately, it is difficult for somebody like Tevez to receive proper treatment and support when his every move is tracked by countless journalists and when he makes so much money for other people.
As the martian prepared to return home she/he might conclude that this is an odd state of affairs and wonder why we earthlings don’t manage football in a more sensible way. I might be inclined to agree.