Manchester United have achieved a great deal of success by keeping their fringe players happy, but it can only last for so long. In failing to take up their option on Carlos Tevez, United run the risk of losing one of the world's best strikers and, although it would be bad for the club, it might actually benefit the player. And Inter Milan.
Tevez has started just 13 Premier League games this season and, although he has made an impact when coming off the bench (or when given a start), he has not done enough to displace Dimitar Berbatov or Wayne Rooney from the starting berths.
Although he has been given a run in the side due to a recent injury to Rooney, it could be suggested that the key to his future came when he wasn't used in the 3-0 victory over Chelsea back in mid-January. He has only missed out on four games for the club during the season, but this would have been a blow and the player has vented his frustration at his lack of first-team action.
United have said they are keen to keep him (despite stalling over talks) and who wouldn't be? At the moment they have him on loan and have one of the world's most tenacious forwards to come on when the opposition are tired. Such is their squad depth that injuries no longer seem to be a hindrance; Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal can only dream of bringing on a player of Tevez's calibre.
But it is not good for the player. Yes he will pick up trophies at Old Trafford and will have the best chance to win the Champions League with Fergie's men, but at the end of the season he will also sit down and question what it was that he brought to the side.
We saw at West Ham how much of a central figure he can be if he is given the chance. Tevez has the ability to turn games, to score goals, and his tenacity in chasing the ball down is the very definition of the phrase 'defending from the front'. But he is useless on the bench.
The question he has to ask is if he can see himself playing a commanding role in the team for years to come. There will always be chances to shine in the various cup competitions and when injuries hit, but Tevez is so much more than a bit-part player. He belongs at a club who will play him every game - and that could be Inter.
Argentina boss Diego Maradona has said in the past that he would love to see Tevez play in Milan and Inter already have six Argentine players to help ease his transition into the Italian game.
He would easily supplant Julio Cruz and Adriano in the first-team, while the prospect of lining up alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a mouth-watering one given the Swedish striker's dislike for tracking back. Ibrahimovic, who already has 14 goals this season, could be the most to benefit from Tevez's arrival, but the Argentine would also find a new lease of life at a club where he would be given top billing.
United play Inter in the Champions League next week and the role that Tevez plays will be of great interest as a decision over his future edges closer. Even if United beat the Italians in Europe's best club competition, they could end up losing to them in the transfer market and Tevez's career may improve as a result.