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The Toe Poke

Tevez ready to play in derby through pain barrier

Carlos Tevez still has respect for the Manchester United fans and will think twice about celebrating any goal he might score against his old club with an Emmanuel Adebayor-style celebration. Kia Joorabchian, the powerful force behind so many South American stars in English football, gave an exclusive interview to ESPNsoccernet about the explosive possibility of Tevez playing for Manchester City against United and how he might react to scoring should he manage to shake off his knee problem and play on Sunday.

The Iranian-born Arsenal fan, who masterminded the Tevez move from United to City, told me: "I haven't discussed a goal celebration with Carlos, but he has far too much respect for United fans. He has a very different relationship with the manager to the fans, very different.

"I am not sure how he would react should he score, we haven't discussed it." But given the manner in which the former Arsenal striker reacted to scoring for City against his old club, one can be sure, after our discussion, that the subject will now be on the agenda.

Joorabchian's barbed comment regarding Sir Alex is understandable, even more so with the United boss's provocative comments about Tevez on the eve of the match.

Tevez was never quite sure about his relationship with Sir Alex despite spending two years at Old Trafford technically on loan, during which time they won the Premier League title in successive seasons and reached two Champions League finals.

Yet the split came in acrimonious circumstances this summer. Tevez accused Ferguson of disrespect, while the United boss continues to claim the South American had decided to leave the Red Devils long before the campaign reached its conclusion.

As Joorabchian remarked, Tevez has a good relationship with the fans, but Sir Alex has cast doubts on that.

Tevez's desire to receive a warm reception from the United fans made Sir Alex smiles, as he said: "He will get a surprise. It is a different culture nowadays. It is very emotional."

It is that emotional element that Tevez will need to overcome to avoid a repeat of the fate that overcame Adebayor only a week ago when he faced his old club and their fans.

Mark Hughes has said United are weaker for losing players of the calibre of Cristiano Ronaldo and Tevez without adequately replacing them, while Sir Alex accused City of arrogance over an infamous poster.

If anything the temperature is hotter for Tevez than it was for Adebayor just days ago. Goodwill for Tevez amongst the United faithful will be stretched after he became the central figure in a poster, erected at the end of Manchester's busy Deansgate shopping centre that declared: "Welcome to Manchester."

It played on City's claim to be the city's true club, given United's precise location is in the neighbouring borough of Trafford.

Ferguson felt it was a deliberate attempt to provoke United. "I'm sure of it," he said. "That stupid poster upset us. It showed an arrogance. It was naughty. It showed a cockiness that wasn't required at the time because they hadn't done anything. The season hadn't even started."

Tevez has to prove his fitness, and Joorabchian knows how desperate he wants to play, irrespective of the fact that the attention of the world would be upon him in this highly charged atmosphere of a Manchester derby.

Joorabchian tells me: "The lower part of the knee has been giving him some pain, and this is the first time he has trained for 10 days, and the pain has gone, but the doctors are still assessing it. He is a very sensible person, so only if he can play, will he play.

"But equally it is fair to say he is a fighter, and he wants to play, so he has a good chance of playing at least some participation in the game. But he will have a scan first because it does not make sense to rush him back for one game and then risk him for the rest of the season. I would say that if there is the smallest chance of Carlos playing he will take it."

Joorabchian also made it plain that the football authorities have all the information necessary about the third-party owners of Tevez, and that that issue is no longer of any relevance.

However, ESPNsoccernet has discovered that the beneficiaries of the £30m-plus "transfer" may always remain a mystery.

Enquiries reveal that the FA and Premier League have all the relevant documentation which allows them to sanction the move from United to City, however, as this is the last of the authentic third-party ownership deals in English football, the money goes direct to the individual investors.

However, none of the names of those individuals who invested from the early days of Tevez's career in South America are identified. The name of the company directed by Joorabchian and the directors are named in the paper work, but they are not necessarily the key investors.

Confidentiality clauses have been inserted to ensure that the delicate issue of precisely how much City have had to pay is not discussed.

An insider tells me: "No one will probably ever know who is actually getting the money from the Tevez transfer. However, everyone has taken legal advice, and the player is registered in the right manner and is now fully owned by Manchester City.

"Confidentiality agreements are in place, and while the ownership group are named, no individuals who benefit from the Tevez transfer are named. This is a unique transfer in many ways, and I cannot imagine that it will ever be allowed to be repeated in English football."

During my time investigating the Tevez transfer over the years, I was told that the investors were split from around three different countries, Greece, Russia and some of the former Soviet satellite states.

While Manchester United baulked at paying the £25m "reserve" price for Tevez, City paid the amount with additional add-ons related to success. If City win the title and the Champions League during the duration of Tevez five-year contract then the amount paid to the investors will rise significantly.

With City investing so heavily in new players, there is every chance the investors will realise some of the bonus payments, and that Tevez will eventually be a record transfer - beating the £34m City paid for Robinho.

However, can this really be described as a transfer fee? The accepted principle of a transfer fee is the amount paid by one club to another. This is a one-off and really ought to be treated like it

But for the statisticians, who love a league table of transfer fees, or rather payments in Tevez case, then he could be top of the list in English football history.


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