Rather than basking in their overnight position at the top of the Premier League, equal on points with Arsenal, Manchester City fans woke up yesterday to the news that Carlos Tevez, their star striker, had handed in a transfer request.
It was a demand that was quickly turned down by the club's hierarchy, who expressed annoyance at the "actions of his representative" over the matter. That means Kia Joorabchian, his agent.
Tevez's entire career has been guided by Joorabchian, the Iranian-born businessman who retained the South American's registration after the controversy over third-party ownership of the Argentine that tarnished his spell at West Ham United.
Tevez's move is reminiscent of Wayne Rooney's stand-off with Manchester United over his contract earlier this season. Rooney, Tevez's former striker partner at Old Trafford, claimed he wanted to leave the club before performing a U-turn three days later and signing a new deal with dramatically improved terms.
City hinted yesterday that they thought Tevez's request was motivated by his desire for an improved contract, although other factors at play are Tevez's relationship with manager Roberto Mancini, reported to be deteriorating, and that he is said to be homesick, given that his two young children live back in Argentina.
"The club remains disappointed by this situation," City said in a statement.
"The written transfer request is in stark contrast to Carlos' stated position in both public and club contexts.
"Significantly, over recent months, the club has also received numerous requests from Carlos' representative to renegotiate and improve his playing contract as well as more recently a request to extend that contract by another year."
The statement, on the club's official website, continued: "Carlos' current five-year contract has three and a half years to run and he is the highest paid player at the Manchester City Football Club.
"This is both an unfortunate and unwelcome distraction. The door remains open for Carlos to be selected to play."
The words are at odds with the idea that Tevez is desperate to get away. Indeed, in an interview with the official club magazine, published on Wednesday, he said: "I miss my family, just like anyone would when they are not around,"
"But I am happy here in Manchester and I feel good in myself. As for the subject of retiring, I did mention it in an interview, saying it had crossed my mind. But it is something I don't see happening for a long time to come.
"It is not easy for me living abroad while my little girls are in Buenos Aires. But it is something you have to deal with."
However, City said they had been accommodating toward Tevez's desire to visit Argentina as often as possible, allowing him to return home last week while he was suspended.
Should Tevez be allowed to leave City, given the club's outlay in acquiring Tevez, reported to be £30 million (Dh174m), it is uncertain which clubs would be able to afford to buy the Argentine.
A more likely outcome would be a loan deal, similar to that which allowed British record signing Robinho to return to Brazil and former club Santos in January. The forward had also claimed he was homesick, but subsequently signed for Italian giants AC Milan.
* With agencies