Following Manchester City's impressive 3-1 win at West Ham, the news broke that Carlos Tevez had handed in a transfer request to Roberto Mancini. When the rumours were confirmed yesterday evening, just hours after City joined Arsenal at the top of the Premiership table, fans and foes of the Eastlands club alike were stunned by the revelation. In reality though, the signs were there.
It has been well-documented that the Argentine has been suffering from home-sickness for some time now. Tevez has a wife and two daughters back home and has understandably struggled being apart from them ever since he came to England in 2006.
Of more concern was the increasing disillusionment with which he spoke about football in England. Last month Tevez said: "Football is only about money, and I don't like it. There are so many agents with really young footballers... it's awful, as these young players are not interesting in winning titles, they only want money. The young players think that they have won something in football because they have two mobile phones and a house."
When combined with the disgruntled confrontation he had with Mancini when substituted in City's 1-0 home win against Bolton last weekend, the evidence seemed to indicate that Tevez was nearing the end of his tether. His love for the club certainly appears genuine, his performances have been superb and the team continues to improve while sat joint top of the table. Nevertheless, the City captain seems set to leave Manchester, and indeed England, sooner rather than later.
City have rejected his transfer request but if there is was thing that has become all too clear in recent years it is that player power always wins, just ask Wayne Rooney. They may have refused to allow him to leave for now yet it would be very surprising to see him still applying his trade in England come next August. If he does stay till the end of the season though, you could rest assured that he will give nothing less than one hundred percent, regardless of his desire to leave. That is the kind of person and player he is.
If Tevez gets his wish and leaves the club then the team will struggle in his absence, even with their strength in depth. The club's tenacious talisman has been in fantastic form since his short move from Old Trafford. He has scored 33 goals in 50 league appearances for the side but, as any Premiership fan knows, he offers far more than goals. His work-ethic is phenomenal and his influence is unquestionable. Without him, City's hopes of a new era of domination in England and Europe will suffer a big blow.
The news concerning Tevez is, ultimately, only surprising because of its timing. It is no revelation that he wants to leave the country. His desire to return to Argentina or perhaps even to retire from the game all together have been widely reported.
But why now?
City are sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership table and Tevez is in the best form of his life. The motives behind his decision will be questioned and debated over the coming days and weeks but it seems as though it is a combination of his genuine dislike for the footballing culture in England and his incurable bout of home-sickness. The more cynical onlooker, however, would almost certainly have to point a finger the way of his agent, the ever-present Kia Joorabchian, who may well have been lurking in the darkness during this whole story, pulling the strings in an attempt to increase his own bank balance by luring more money out of City or by instigating a move elsewhere.
Whatever the truth behind the news, it will be fascinating to watch events unfold at Eastlands and to see what will happen in the Premiership's newest transfer saga.