MANCHESTER May 18 – Carlos Tevez is set to stay at Manchester City, according to manager Roberto Mancini.
The Argentina striker’s future has been in doubt since he handed in a transfer request earlier in the season.
Even after captaining City to victory in last weekend’s FA Cup final against Stoke at Wembley, Tevez suggested he might have to move back to South America for family reasons.
But Mancini, after seeing Tevez score twice in City’s 3-0 Premier League win over Stoke here on Tuesday, said the forward was happy to stay put.
"He has a five-year contract and has told us he wants to stay," said Mancini. "He said that before. He never had any problem."
Tevez’s double strike left the former Manchester United striker level with current Old Trafford forward Dimitar Berbatov at the top of the Premier League goalscoring table.
And upbeat Italian manager Mancini added: "Carlos has scored 20 goals this season. Every time we say Carlos is an important player. Carlos is Carlos. He is a fantastic striker and a fantastic player for us.
"I think he will stay here next year. He doesn’t have a problem," he said.
"I spoke with him many times in the last 20 days. It is my opinion that Carlos stays here next season.
"In December he had a problem. But everyone can change his opinion.
"I don’t know what his representatives think.
"Carlos is an important player here. The feeling for him is good."
City’s victory saw them leapfrog Arsenal into third place with just one game of the Premier League season left and means that, if they stay there, they will go straight into next term’s Champions League without having to play in the qualifying round.
And Mancini said the prospect of playing in European club football’s leading competition would help persuade the 27-year-old Tevez to stay with north-west side City, bankrolled by their big-spending owners from Abu Dhabi.
"When we play in the Champions League, probably we will have a better squad. We can buy other good players," Mancini said. "Why should he change? I don’t think this will happen.
"Carlos has scored 20 (league) goals this season. Every time we have said he is an important player.
"He is a fantastic striker and a fantastic player for us."