Well who’d have guessed it? Just like Wayne Rooney before him, Carlos Tevez last night withdrew his highly-publicised transfer request just before Manchester City’s shock 2-1 defeat at Everton.
City’s feisty top scorer – who so nearly scored a dramatic equaliser only to be denied by the superb American Tim Howard at Goodison Park (right) - made his u-turn after frantic behind-the-scenes consultations following the 26-year-old Argentine’s dramatic decision to leave Eastlands just two weeks ago.
Consultations? Sorry, I meant cheques. But today’s statement produced by City’s board said: "Carlos and the club are keen to focus on the opportunities ahead and his contract remains unchanged.”
Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney were saying similar things at Old Trafford a couple of months ago. Water under the bridge, sweep it under the carpet. Only at City, with Sheik Mansour’s Abu Dhabi billions to fall back on, this one was inevitable.
City boss Roberto Mancini, considered far more expendable than Tevez among the football-speaking cognoscenti, added: "Carlos is a world-class player whose contribution since he joined the club has been invaluable.
"I am pleased that we are now able to focus on pure football matters and to be able to look forward to Carlos continuing to play a significant role in the club's progress."
Phew! Panic over then. Was it just 18 months ago when Tevez became the Premier League’s best-paid player, leaving United amid posters proclaiming “Welcome to Manchester”?
The goals were instant. The man who saved West Ham and bolstered United has no problem on the field. He scored 29 goals in his first season at City but failed to save boss Mark Hughes. He’s scored 10 times in 18 appearances so far this term but still got stuck in to boss Mancini when he was pulled off after scoring the only goal against stubborn Bolton.
Initially, when that transfer request went in on 12 December, he said he was missing his daughters back in Argentina. He said his relationship with "certain executives" at City had "broken down beyond repair".
But when he was given time off to visit his estranged wife Vanessa, curiously he travelled to Tenerife with the girlfriend. Yes, the lass he was seeing when the missus was pregnant with his second child.
Incredibly, the rift with city (if not his wife and children) is miraculously healed. And he’s got the captain’s armband back as City, level on points with second-placed Arsenal despite last night’s defeat, bid to end years of United dominance, armed only with oil-soaked billions from Abu Dhabi.
Could it be that Tevez is now being paid more than their newly crowned top-earner Yaya Toure, lured by a wage packed of £220,000-a-week to leave Barcelona? Surely not, the contract remains unchanged, say City. Is it really only about money? Surely not. Tevez is a badge-kissing, hard-running Argentina from the Fuerte Apache. Tough as nails those guys are. They sneer at bank managers and city slickers. But his agent Kia Joorabchian, the Iranian-born schemer who stepped in to buy his registration when Tevez was at Corinthians in Brazil, enjoys the odd cheque, or so I believe.
Money? The root of all evil. And the root of all excuses. Missing his daughters? Angry with Mancini? Broken-down relationships? If the price is right, all will be well. Just ask Wayne Rooney. Kiss that badge Carlos, we know you mean it!
Who the hell is Neal Collins (nealcol on twitter?). See www.nealcollins.co.uk.