July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez said he wants to leave the club he helped reach the Champions League for the first time because of family reasons.
Tevez, who’s playing for host nation Argentina at soccer’s Copa America, said in a statement late yesterday that he doesn’t want to continue to live in the northwest of England without his two daughters.
“Living without my children in Manchester has been incredibly challenging for me,” Tevez, 27, said. “Everything I do, I do for my daughters, Katie and Florencia. I need to be closer to them and to spend more time with them. I need them to be happy because my life is about them now. I need to be in a place where they can adapt.”
Tevez, who signed a five-year contract with City in July 2009 after leaving crosstown rival Manchester United, withdrew a transfer request in December. He scored 20 Premier League goals last season to help City finish in third place and qualify for Europe’s elite Champions League for the first time. City also won its first major trophy in 35 years by beating Stoke City in the F.A. Cup final.
Although Tevez’s estranged partner couldn’t settle in Manchester and returned to Argentina with their daughters, a move to a Spanish or Italian club may persuade his family to return to Europe, according to U.K. media reports.
“It is with great regret that I have to inform Manchester City of my wish to leave,” Tevez said. “I hope that the people understand the difficult circumstances I have been living under the past 12 months, in regards to my family.”
Tevez’s statement, released to the U.K.’s Press Association, came hours after Arsenal’s French international defender Gael Clichy signed a four-year contract with City.
The clubs announced the 25-year-old’s switch on their websites without giving the transfer fee. U.K. media reports said City paid 7 million pounds ($11.2 million) for the left-back, who had 12 months remaining on his Arsenal contract.
“I hope I can add to the quality we already have here because we have a fantastic squad who I believe will continue to get better,” Clichy told City’s website. “I can’t wait to get started and I think anything is possible with this team.”
Other Arsenal regulars may also leave the 13-time English champion. Captain Cesc Fabregas has been linked with a return to Barcelona, while midfielder Samir Nasri has yet to renew a contract that expires next year.
Emirates to Eastlands
Clichy follows other Arsenal players who’ve swapped London for a club owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. City has been among Europe’s biggest spenders since the billionaire bought the team in September 2008. Former Gunners at Eastlands include Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure, while ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has also played for City and may stay there as a coach.
“When I first came to England, it was Kolo Toure and Patrick Vieira who took me under their wing and really looked after me,” Clichy said. “Kolo would pick me up and drop me at home and his wife used to cook meals for me. Patrick was always there to offer me advice so it’s wonderful to be back and at the same club they are at.”
Clichy joined Arsenal from Cannes in 2003 and was the last remaining member of the so-called Invincibles, who won the Premier League in 2004 without losing a game.
“We’d like to thank Gael for eight years of terrific service,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told his club’s website. “He has grown and developed so much since joining us.”
The Gunners haven’t won a trophy since the 2005 F.A. Cup and finished fourth in the Premier League last season.
Some supporters have started to question the philosophy of Wenger, who favors promoting young talent over buying established stars. “In Arsene We Rust,” said one banner held up at the Emirates Stadium toward the end of the season, a reference to the regular slogan of “In Arsene We Trust.”
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