Tevez seeking exit since January, Ferguson says

MANCHESTER: Striker Carlos Tevez had been scheming to leave Manchester United since the beginning of the year, Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson said on Monday.

The 25-year-old Argentina star is expected to be signed up by arch-rivals Manchester City for a rumoured 25 million pound (35 million euros) fee, assuming he passes a medical when he returns from holiday on Tuesday, according to reports in British media. City are to fly to South Africa later this week for a pre-season tour.

Ferguson claims Tevez' behaviour signalled that his loyalty could not be counted on: "I half expected Carlos Tevez would be going a long time back," said the United boss.

"I think he maybe did a deal around January because I spoke to him and gave him an offer on the night we played Inter Milan and he never came back to me, "I phoned him on holiday and he never got back to me and I texted him twice and he never got back to me then either, so obviously he had made his mind up a long time ago, "He was a good player and did well for us. But he obviously assessed the situation and wanted to go somewhere else." The move across town to Eastlands will disappoint Red Devils fans with whom the Argentine has been a favourite over the past two years.

The ex-West Ham, Corinthians and Boca Juniors star has made it clear he is frustrated by the lack of playing time provided with last season by Sir Alex.

Fans hoped some of the cash received at Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo could be used to ensure Tevez remained at United. However, the South American, resisting appeals to stay from chief executive David Gill, has been mulling over the invitation from cash-rich City as well as from Chelsea.