Manchester City rejected a transfer request from captain Carlos Tevez, the Argentine striker who has spearheaded the soccer team’s challenge for the Premier League title this season.
U.K. media reports say Tevez is unhappy at being separated from his family in Argentina and that he has a worsening relationship with City coach Roberto Mancini.
“It is with disappointment that we confirm to our supporters that Carlos Tevez has submitted a written transfer request,” the club said on its website today. “The club can also confirm that the request has been rejected.”
Manchester City said it was “particularly” disappointed with the actions of Tevez’s representative and added that the striker is the club’s highest paid player, with 3 1/2 years left on a five-year contract. Even so, the club had received numerous requests to improve and extend the deal, City said.
Tevez tonight confirmed he wants to leave City, Sky Sports reported. He said his relationship with certain executives and individuals at City “has broken down beyond repair.”
Tevez said he has “no personal issue” with Mancini and thanked owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his understanding and support.
Tevez, 26, is the team’s top scorer with 10 of its 24 league goals this season. The club is level on points with top club Arsenal after a 3-1 win at West Ham yesterday.
Tevez’s departure would be a major blow for a City side striving to win its first major title since 1976. It last won the English league in 1968. City was bought in 2008 by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, who’s poured more than 350 million pounds ($553 million) into strengthening the club’s playing squad.
Tevez arrived from Manchester United in 2009, having helped City’s local rival win two league titles and the Champions League in 2008.
City said today it had shown “sensitivity to Carlos’s personal circumstances, including the issue of his family being based overseas,” and he’d been allowed to take leave.
It said his transfer request was in “stark contrast” to his publicly stated position.
“This is both an unfortunate and unwelcome distraction and the club will remain focused on the games ahead in what is turning out to be a very promising season,” the City statement said. “The door remains open for Carlos to be selected to play.”
Tevez arrived in England in 2006 to join West Ham from Brazil’s Corinthians. His goals helped to keep the London team in the top league but the Hammers were fined 5.5 million pounds for breaking league rules over the transfer. He joined Manchester United, technically on a loan basis, in 2007.