Roberto Mancini has urged Manchester City to offer Carlos Tevez a new contract.
Tevez’s current deal expires in the summer of 2014 and City risk losing a player who cost them £25 million on a free transfer in 18 months’ time.
And that could hinder Mancini if he tries to sign a replacement as, with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules fully operational, City are keen to balance the books, meaning they may have to sell before they buy.
Mancini is eager to tie the former captain down, saying a one-year contract extension could be worth investigating.
It is another sign of how their relationship has been rebuilt since Tevez refused to warm up in a Champions League game against Bayern Munich in September 2011 and Mancini said he was “finished” at the club.
The dispute cost Tevez £9.3 million in lost wages and bonuses and he went six months without a first-team appearance before returning to help City win the title.
But after trying to offload the former Manchester United striker in the summer of 2011 and January 2012, Mancini is now keen to keep him. “Yeah, yeah,” said the Italian. “Carlos is 28 and he has other years to play.”
Securing his signature on a deal for an extra year appeals to Mancini, who said: “I think that this could be an option.”
Tevez previously stated that when his City contract expires he will return to Argentina but Mancini hopes the forward has had a rethink.
He added: “I remember when Carlos said 'I finish my contract and I [go] back to Argentina' but I don’t know what he thinks now. But we have another 18 months and I think we have the time to talk with him about this. When Carlos takes his decision, he will talk with us.”
If Tevez does not want to sign a new deal, City face a decision over whether to let him run down his contract or sell him in the summer when, with 12 months left on his contract, he might command a fee of around £10 million.
However, a striker who scored 53 goals in his first two seasons at the Etihad has been less productive this season. After a prolific August, Tevez has only scored five goals in 23 games and two of those were penalties.
But Mancini defended his former adversary, saying his attitude has been excellent and that he is a role model for Mario Balotelli.
He explained: “His behaviour is very good, he works very well. He is an important player because he has experience in this moment and he can help Mario which is important.”