Carlos Tevez should stick with City

AP

Once again the Argentinian has been Manchester City's most influential player, scoring 20 English Premier League goals and vying with United's Dimitar Berbatov for the Golden Boot award, writes Frank Malley.

If Carlos Tevez had played the long game almost certainly he would have played in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley against Barcelona's Xavi and Andres Iniesta and his Argentinian compatriot, the world's greatest footballer, Lionel Messi.

Instead, Tevez chose to leave Manchester United and cross town for Manchester City where, let's be fair, he has been a spectacular success. He also has an FA Cup final medal this season, although if he had stayed at Old Trafford he could have upgraded that for a Barclays English Premier League version.

The point is that in football the grass elsewhere might put more green 'uns in the pocket, but it is not always greener. Sometimes it is better to stay put. To appreciate what you have and to pledge your utmost to making it a success. That is what Tevez should do at Manchester City the moment the league season ends, quite probably with City in third place in the table and having secured an automatic qualifying spot for the Champions League next season.

City need Tevez to stay, no doubt about that. Partly because once again he has been their most influential player, scoring 20 league goals and vying with United's Dimitar Berbatov for the Golden Boot award.

Mostly, however, they need him to stay because Tevez leaving would send the wrong message to the big stars attracted by City's bottomless pit of cash but still to be convinced about their capacity to win major prizes. Read the transfer gossip and you will find Barcelona's Xavi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo linked with a move to Eastlands.

It is not going to happen. Not because City cannot afford it. City owner Sheikh Mansour could buy both, fund their astronomical wages, buy them private jets and the burden on his vast wealth would be tantamount to a grain of sand in the Abu Dhabi desert.

No, surprisingly for football, it is not about money. It is the fact that football's finest still need convincing that Eastlands is the place to be. The place where the Champions League, the most prestigious prize in club football, can be delivered sometime soon.

An FA Cup triumph against Stoke is not sufficient. It is why next season is so crucial for City and manager Roberto Mancini. Already, Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has cautioned against expectations of a mass of new signings in the summer.

He is right to do so. So far City's transfer policy under Sheikh Mansour has been scatter-gun, £350 million spent on the good, the bad and the downright difficult to manage in the case of former striker Emmanuel Adebayor. “It won't be like last summer, or the summer before,” is Al-Mubarak's message this time.

“What you will see this year is strengthening the squad in areas that we feel require more depth. We don't need quantity, as today we have quality. We just need a couple of players.”

The right players. City need to step up a notch. They need to attract stars who have bought into their revolution, players convinced that the axis of power is shifting from Barcelona and United and Real and swinging towards Eastlands.

City have made huge progress but that last surge is not an easy sell. It is why doubt remains about Tevez. Yet what if Tevez stays and in doing so accelerates the speed of City's progress.

Revolutions are uncertain. They can fizzle out or, backed by ruthless, rich and powerful men, they can take on the aura of a relentless march to triumph. City's has begun to have the feel of the latter. That is why Tevez should stay.

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