This week representatives of Manchester City are to meet with AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani to discuss the possible end to one of the most tiresome, drawn-out transfer sagas in recent times. The arrogance in which Galliani is conducting himself in the Tevez negotiations is quite breath-taking – his rhetoric is purposely weighted to make it seem as if the Italians are reluctantly doing City a favour in taking one of the world’s most explosive talents off their hands, initially at least, for nothing.
It is hoped that City continue their firm stance that they’ve maintained throughout the entire Tevez debacle and hold out for as close to the desired £25m fee as possible. And under no circumstances even countenance a loan deal of any kind that does not include a cast-iron guarantee of a permanent switch in the summer.
The fans meanwhile just want shot of the scabby-necked striking striker. Good riddance to bad news.
Further south Chelsea have been addressing their own long-running tragic-drama involving a disenchanted centre-forward. Theirs is not a player refusing to showcase his talents but rather someone who has a baffling inability to. The dramatic decline of Torres since he agreed to sign his headline-exploding Faustian pact back in January goes far beyond a mere downturn in form; it is a loss of his entire footballing libido. Unless there is a devil in a Liverpool top laughing at a crossroads somewhere the whole thing doesn’t make sense. Once a striker of devastating potency Torres is now an empty shell in a kit.
Both Ancelotti and Villas-Boas have tried in vain to reignite his greatness – two top-class managers favouring differing approaches – but the only constant in the whole sorry episode is Stamford Bridge. It appears that Torres and Chelsea are forever doomed to be ill-matched.
Now, on the surface at least it does not require the diplomatic skills of Henry Kissinger to find a solution here that suits both clubs.
Despite this AVB has come out this week and publicly declared that his miss-firing Spaniard is not for sale in January at any cost. The sustained speculation however that directly contradicts his bravado persists unabated. The word on the street that was once called Fleet is that Torres is available for £25m.
Now, on the surface at least it does not require the diplomatic skills of Henry Kissinger to find a solution here that suits both clubs. In fact it barely needs the match-making props of Cilla Black.
Both are world class strikers who are hopelessly disillusioned in their current surroundings. For varying reasons both are in desperate need of a new challenge.
A straight swap – with no money changing hands – would mean that Nando returns to his previously happy stomping ground of the North-West with the opportunity to resurrect his career inspired alongside such luminous attacking fare as Aguero and Silva. It also returns City to their quota of four top-level strikers as they embark upon the most gruelling and important six months of their recent history. No matter the posturing and the points City will miss Tevez awfully if only for the guaranteed quality should an injury or suspension occur. Furthermore, irrespective of how many goals Guidetti is putting away on loan at Feyenoord or how much promise the stylish Scapuzzi has this is no time to be blooding the kids. City need a fourth proven goal-scorer capable of artful destruction at the very highest level if they are to attain silverware this term. For the FA Cup and League alone (he is cup tied for the others) Torres would potentially be invaluable.
The Londoners have equal reason to consider this high-profile exchange of damaged goods. Though Tevez has repeatedly claimed that he wants out of England his family problems – the main thrust of his discontent – have now been resolved and the little f***er would relish the chance to personally do all he can to harm City’s title bid by signing for a rival and excelling. Let’s face it, in this regard, he has form.
Regardless of your opinion of Tevez as a man there is no doubting his immense pedigree.
Chelsea would be free of their sulking, sullen girly-haired superstar and would instead have in their ranks a revitalised one-man army. It is no accident that their recent return to form has coincided with Drogba’s reawakening and his powerful marauding across the frontline offers a muscular focal point to all their stylish scheming. Regardless of your opinion of Tevez as a man there is no doubting his immense pedigree and, by possessing similar traits to the Drog, he would not only continue Chelsea’s rebirth but improve them immeasurably. Once match fit they would have a frightening proposition on their hands capable of firing them back to the very top.
So on paper at least it is Chelsea who would have by far the better deal here. In the short term the risk-to-reward ratio is swung very much in their favour as the Argentine, hell-bent on revenge, is almost certain to hit the ground running.
But that is discounting the deformed madness that lurks behind the deformed face. History shows that Tevez is routinely sensational for the first couple of seasons at each club he infects then unleashes a s**t-storm of grief. He is the football equivalent of dating Jordan.
If City were to unlock the secrets of Torres’ recent woes and help him rediscover past glories it is they who would be looking back on the deal and laughing with uncontained glee.
I am personally not advocating such a move and admit that it’s as far-fetched as it is unworkable, for precisely the reasons I have laid out – clubs would rather cut their own noses off than potentially aid a rival even when it spites their own face. But until either stand-off is resolved it remains a fascinating and intriguing proposition nonetheless.
So Tevez the jackal in a Chelsea shirt next month with Torres the ladyboy on City’s bench? Stranger things have happened in football. After all Steve Kean is currently a Premier League manager.