There has been plenty floating around the past couple of days regarding a possible (and very imminent) return for Carlos Tevez. Firstly, there was Roberto Mancini's post-match comments following the win at Aston Villa in which he said "Carlos can change a lot of games. If he comes back next week, maybe he can help us in the last three months", but it is today where news has gone into overdrive.
Firstly, there were comments from Tevez's advisor/representative, Paul McCarthy, who said:
"He needs to be back, he needs to be pulling on a Manchester City shirt again, he needs to be doing what he does, and that's score goals and help his team. And he wants to help Manchester City to win the title and I think Roberto Mancini has opened the door now. Once Carlos is back in the country, once Carlos gets his fitness back, I think he will be an asset for City."
Truth be told it is difficult to quite gage what the current situation truly is. On the one hand it no longer appears to be quite as clear cut as it was that night in Munich but on the other, if Tevez fails to offer a suitable apology to placate Mancini then where does that leave us?
The depth of feeling that surrounds the Tevez 'issue' is such that any support for him is from that of a very small minority - although it is worth noting that within the squad there appears to be some support for a return - and with City well set with a dozen or so games remaining will Mancini really want to add Tevez into the mix of what is (and still contrary to some opinion) a very unified squad?
But from a pragmatic standpoint (and admittedly playing Devil's advocate) could the addition of a fit and fresh (assuming he is) Tevez provide added impetus to the title challenge, with the closing of the transfer window (that saw no takers for him) leaving all parties in a state of flux and having to make the best of what is clearly a bad situation. Whatever the short term outcome (i.e. over the remainder of the 2011/12 season) though, of most concern will be sideshow that Tevez will ultimately bring at a time when the focus should be confined to matters on the pitch, not what is (or isn't) taking place off it.
Although I'm not wholly convinced that a return for Tevez is as smooth a path as being suggested in some quarters, it wasn't too long ago that I wrote there would be no winners in this ugly situation, but that Tevez would be biggest loser. Could it now be though that he emerges as the one with the widest when all is said and done?