Would Tevez help or hurt Milan’s chances?
With the turn of the year, the football focus inevitably shifts on the winter transfer window.
This period is seen by clubs as an opportunity to bolster or trim squads in the run-in to the second part of the season.
Manchester City wantaway Carlos Tevez has been consistently linked with a move to Milan after falling out with manager Roberto Mancini following the Blues’ upset to Bayern Munich in the Champions League way back in September.
The Mancini-Tevez feud happened almost one month before Antonio Cassano was hospitalised after falling ill on the trip home following Milan’s 3-2 win at Roma.
He underwent minor heart surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Despite Cassano’s absence, Milan recovered from a stuttering start to their campaign and collected 29 points from their next 11 outings to go top of the Serie A standings.
With the end of the first round approaching fast, indications are that the title race in Italy will be restricted between Milan and Juve.
Udinese and Inter may also have their say but mainly it will be Milan and Juve as they currently top the league with 34 points each.
Juventus did well to add more options to Antonio Conte by getting striker Marco Borriello on loan from Roma.
Midfielder David Pizarro could follow in Borriello’s footsteps by joining the Bianconeri from Roma.
In the meantime, Milan are still negotiating terms with Manchester City on the transfer of Tevez.
The owners of the English Premier League club prefer to part with the rebel Argentine to the highest bidder rather than park him at Milan for the next five months and affording the Rosso-neri the option to buy at a reduced price next summer.
In the event that Tevez joins Milan, he will be ineligible to play for them in this year’s Champions League.
However, the ex-West Ham and Manchester United striker would still be a valuable addition to a team seeking a 19th scudetto in their history.
This time last year, Milan were almost in the same position as they had just signed Cassano who broke relations with Sampdoria supremo Riccardo Garrone fol-lowing comments he made in the Italian media.
Besides being very difficult to handle, Cassano was also ineligible to play Champions League football in January 2011.
But Milan still took the gamble and the risky move reaped rich dividends as they were crowned champions with Cassano con-tributing significantly to the team’s cause.
The same can happen this time as Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has already declared that the club will leave no stone unturned to sign Tevez.
Some reports say Manchester City also want to offload Tevez to Paris SG since the ambitious French club have the financial muscle to make the deal permanent with immediate effect but the Argentina international pre-fers the Serie A as his next destination even if he has to forgo a large chunk of his salary pack.
Milan are leading the race for the scudetto and with Tevez in their ranks their stock would rise considerably.
It is worth remembering that in January 2007, the Rossoneri had also opted for a ‘crazy buy’ when luring Brazilian Ronaldo to their fold from Real Madrid.
That year, the former Inter star was also ineligible to play in Europe but his presence alone infused fresh enthusiasm within the club which culminated in Milan’s 2-1 Champions League final triumph over Liverpool in Athens.
Statistics show that in the recent past, Milan benefited from the signings of high-profile players in winter. Who knows, if history will repeat itself this time with the signing of Tevez.