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Man United’s apparent interest in Carlos Tevez is a lesson in never going back

They say that you should never go back to somebody who hurt you, no matter how charming or apologetic they are.

Sure, they might claim that they’ve changed, matured, or ‘grown’, but people rarely change.

And footballers, on the most part, are people.


Who are ya?

Getty - Contributor
Who are ya?

So should Man United really consider bringing back Carlos Tevez on a short-term loan this month, years after their break-up and his subsequent rebound to Man City?

Rumours have circulated this week that the increasingly desperate United are looking to snap up their former flame, who’s now on the books of Argentinian side Boca Juniors.

Perhaps one of the more bizarre rumours of the January window, Tevez being linked back with United is a sentence many of us thought we’d never read again and, in all honesty, should be no where near the truth.

He hasn’t changed, has he?

AP:Associated Press
He hasn’t changed, has he?

Tevez, of course, has history with United.

His short but sweet stay at Old Trafford between 2007 and 2009 was highly successful, and saw him win the Premier League title twice, as well as the Champions League.

He was part of an exciting attacking trio alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, and he was a firm crowd favourite.

But he’s long since become one of the club’s most despised figures, stemming from his infamous move to bitter rivals City and stirred by the Blues’ audacious ‘Welcome to Manchester’ poster.


PA:Press Association

Tevez became an Old Trafford villain overnight and remains a figurehead of City’s sudden rise under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour.

But above anything else, Tevez became the focal point of the Manchester derby during a particularly heated period of their rivalry – and he revelled in it all.

A touchline bust-up with Gary Neville during the all-Manchester League Cup semi-final of 2010 made plenty of headlines, as did the ‘RIP Fergie’ sign he held up to photographers during City’s title parade around Manchester in 2012.

Football rivalry is often tasteless and provocative, but Tevez seemed to take it to another level.

The pantomime villain

Getty Images - Getty
The pantomime villain

But doesn’t time heal all wounds?

His stay at City wasn’t particularly long, after all, and he isn’t held with the same level of fondness at the Etihad as the likes of Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta or Vincent Kompany.

In many ways, his departure to Juventus in 2013 gave City a taste of their own medicine, when the drama surrounding the striker – first fuelled by his fall out with manager Roberto Mancini and his refusal to come on as a substitute in a Champions League match against Bayern Munich – felt like more trouble than his ability was worth.

So could it still work out for him at Old Trafford, if he did make a return to the side for the second-half of United’s season?

It’s certainly been a long time, with Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager Tevez walked out on at Old Trafford, no longer at the helm (although he does still hold an honorary position at the club).

There’s also no sign of Neville, Rio Ferdinand or any other of his impassioned former teammates, so that will certainly lessen any ill-feelings there might’ve been in the dressing room.

Teammates to rivals

Bradley Ormesher - The Times
Teammates to rivals

But what does it say about the club’s respect towards the supporters, many of whom still remember and lived through the saga between United and Tevez, if they do decide to pursue him?

Relations between the supporters and the board, particularly the Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, are at an all-time low.

Signing a long-hated figured of the past will not go down well at all, no matter how badly the club need attacking reinforcements.

In football, principles are often forgotten in the ongoing pursuit for success, and it’s often said that fans soon forget their animosity towards an individual if they produce.

But with Tevez – regardless of his attacking ability, experience and apparent leadership skills, which are all things United currently lack – they should never go back.