A tale of two Manchester City strikers

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Updated: October 27, 2011

Manchester City have certainly become one of the teams to beat following their demolition of their neighbours on Sunday. That performance in particular has laid down a marker for the rest of the league and Europe and while the club is doing everything right on the field their successes are often overshadowed by controversies away from pitch.

With the season not yet 10 games old, we have already seen the “Cookgate” saga which resulted in the departure of Gary Cook while the latest controversy to hit the Premier League leaders is of course the Carlos Tevez situation. The club announced last Monday that the Argentina international will be fined 4 weeks wages for breaching contract conditions during City’s defeat in Munich in the Champions League . He might have a little less in his pocket for the next month or so but that is the least of Tevez’s problems.

After failing to secure a move away from Eastlands during the summer, the former City skipper has hardly featured in a sky blue shirt so far this season and his latest actions means that he is unlikely to don the City jersey again . It all means he is left in the Manchester City wilderness, exactly where Mario Balotelli found himself last season.

How things have changed though for both strikers. The young Italian is currently the form striker in the Premier League and has scored five league goals in as many games this campaign including a brace in Sunday’s 6- 1 win over Manchester United. Balotelli has bags of talent, of that there is no doubt now it seems he had added consistency to his repertoire this season.

He has turned around his fortunes at City by showing maturity on the field and off, well not off the field just yet! He has established himself as their front line striker it seems with Sergio Aguero and has become a very important part of Mancini’s plans.

The 20 year old forward, who signed from Inter Milan last August, failed to make the impact last campaign as he made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Red cards, training ground bust ups and an allergy to grass were just some of the reasons why Balotelli found himself sitting on the Man City bench watching Tevez and co. storm their way to Champions League football and their first trophy in 34 years. A summer return to Italy always seemed likely yet this season we have seen the striker start to show the form that made him a 30 million pound player. How the roles have been reversed as it is now Balotelli who is the one firing goals in for City and earning the plaudits .

While there is surely no way back for Tevez now at Eastlands and he will probably move on either in January or the summer with Brazil, Spain or Italy his likely destination, despite Harry Redknapp’s willingness to take him on loan .

After his very public failing to secure a move last summer, Tevez has been forced to start the season on the bench and this has led to his frustration which ultimately resulted in the Munich incident. The former Man United front man has showed little maturity and has dealt with the whole thing in a very poor fashion. In fact throughout his career so far it seems as if Tevez has failed to learn from his mistakes, many will recall the player wearing a Manchester United jersey whilst still on the books of Corinthians. His career at each club has a similar feel about it, a fantastic start that endears him to the home crowd followed by an amazing ability to alienate himself from those that support and help pay his wages.

That’s in contrast to Mario Balotelli who has bit his lip while on the bench and waited for his chance which he has duly taken. The youngster is by no means guranteed to keep away from the headlines for too however as witnessed by the fireworks events of the weekend when he had to flee his own home.

With Balotelli, Aguero and Dzeko all in fine form so far this season, the loss of Tevez hasn’t really hit City so far. However City need to make a decision on the striker and quick, as keeping hold of Tevez could lead to more problems not only publicly but in the dressing room as he will try to turn some of his team mates’ heads.

Sadly It really is a case of from hero to zero for Tevez who last season was the Premier League ‘s joint top scorer and Man City player of the year, although you get the feeling that had he just knuckled down like Balotelli, then he might have just forged his way back into the manager’s thoughts and earned his move the natural way, by his performances on the pitch. There is little chance of that now, with the player managing to unite the red and blue halves of Manchester where he has now become public enemy number one , a title further emphasised by the “Trash your Tevez shirt” skip outside Old Trafford on Sunday.

Where now for Tevez? There are plenty of clubs who would happily take on the diminutive Argentine but his baggage is considerable and the fee that City are looking for are deterring potential buyers. He publicly said he wanted to return to Argentina for family reasons but when his move to Corinthians fell through and his kids moved to England, a move to his homeland is now unlikely. Serie A is a likely destination but again his transfer fee, wage demands and baggage might deter any clubs.

As for Balotelli, he might have just secured his future at Man City. As a result of his poor start in England, he had been linked with a return to Italy but surely now Mancini will keep hold of him.

Who knows what will happen next in the Tevez situation but whatever happens, he is likely not to play for City again while Balotelli could help City to their first Premier League title.

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