Carlos Tevez’s advisors have reacted furiously to claims the actual fee they received for the Argentina star to sign for Manchester City this summer was £47m.
Only a handful of people involved in the deal, plus key Premier League employees involved in its administration, know the exact figure.
Estimates tended to range from £25-30m, which went unchallenged at the time.
However, in defending themselves over the failure to keep Tevez, Manchester United cast doubt on such a sum, hinting the exact “transfer” which took the South American out of third party ownership into the sole charge of City was significantly above that sum, beyond the British record £32.5m the Blues paid to sign Robinho from Real Madrid 12 months ago.
It seems the newly-reported figure is too high though, with Tevez’s long-time advisor Kia Joorabchian quick to reject it.
“This story is inaccurate and misleading,” he said. “There appears to be the hand of mischief at work as the numbers quoted are fictitious. There was also no mystery about the true details as full disclosure was made both to the Football Association and the Premier League.”
It has been suggested the varying exchange rates might be one reason for the inflated price tag, although even if the £47m represented euro or US dollars, it would still be way in excess of the amounts first mentioned.
Although they can hardly disguise an overall spending spree in excess of £120m this summer, City have tried to play down the amounts of money being splashed out by their Abu Dhabi owners.
Manager Mark Hughes repeatedly stated he would be prepared to walk away from potential transfers if the price went too high, while accepting a slight premium would need to be paid to secure the right man.
Once an attempt to lure England skipper John Terry north from Chelsea fell through, the Tevez deal was left as the most notable of the summer because it has pitched City’s new money in direct competition with United’s established position as England’s number one.
There has been friction between the two clubs already this summer, first in the fall-out from the Tevez transfer and then the use of his face in a ’Welcome to Manchester’ poster that was seen as a dig at United’s roots from outside the city.
That prompted another attack from Alex Ferguson, stoking up the fires for next week’s Old Trafford showdown, which Tevez is now struggling to be fit for after suffering a knee injury on international duty with Argentina last weekend.