Paul Parker

United cannot afford to lose Tevez

Paul Parker

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Amid the uncertainty surrounding the future of Manchester
United striker Carlos Tevez, the question has to be asked: is he worth all the

Without a shadow of a doubt, he is.

But whether he is worth the reported £30 million wanted by
his owners is another matter altogether.

Tevez proved his worth on the pitch once again with his
performance off the bench in the win over Wigan.

Let's be honest, United were struggling after a lacklustre
first half at the JJB. Dimitar Berbatov was not showing, Cristiano Ronaldo was
not giving enough (except in terms of posturing) and Wayne Rooney looked
isolated out wide.

And with no Ji-sung
Park or Darren Fletcher in the middle
of the pitch they were being overrun by a tigerish Wigan
midfield consisting of Lee Catermole, Michael Brown and Paul Scharner.

Part of the problem was that Paul Scholes - unusually
off-form - and Michael Carrick are too similar in style. Essentially, they do
the same job. Allow one to play alongside the likes of Fletcher and it works a
treat, but I don't believe they can play together.

But back to Tevez. As soon as the Argentinian entered the fray,
the game was turned on its head. If he hadn't come on, United would be sweating
slightly come the weekend's game against Arsenal. As it is, with just a point
needed to secure the title, the game should prove to be a celebration.

What I love about Tevez is his work ethic. You can stick him
on the pitch in a Carling Cup game away at Rochdale on a wet and miserable
Wednesday night and he'll still give his all, just as he would if he were
lining up against Barcelona
at the Nou Camp.

His energy and enthusiasm are second to none and I can
assure you, defenders do not like playing against him. I certainly wouldn't
enjoy him snapping at my heels for 90 minutes - or even half an hour.

The biggest compliment I can pay him is that I see him as an
updated, quicker version of Mark Hughes, who was an absolute nightmare to play

Despite being South American, he has the same British
mentality as Sparky did - he loves going shoulder-to-shoulder, he rarely goes
down and he'll scrap for anything on any occasion.

Tevez comes on to change games, much in the same way Ole
Gunnar Solskjaer used to. But that's where the comparisons between those two
end - while, like Tevez, Ole posed a goal threat, the Argentine has an entirely
different energy about him.

And he has every right to be knocking on the manger's door,
asking why he isn't starting the big matches instead of, say, Berbatov.

Indeed, Berbatov himself provides a good argument for United
fans who want to see Tevez stay.

The Bulgarian's arrival has set a precedent of sorts - after
all, if £30m can be spent on him, then why not Tevez? That is the question the
holders of the club's purse strings will have to ask themselves over the coming

Yet amid all the doubt, one thing is for sure - Tevez has
far too much about him for United to lose him this summer. And if that means
paying ridiculously over-the-odds to seal his signature, then perhaps United
will have to.

If not, United's loss will certainly be another club's gain.

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