Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has opened negotiations with Carlos Tevez in a bid to keep the striker at Old Trafford.
Argentina international Tevez has found first-team opportunities limited this season as the partnership between Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov has begun to flourish.
Tevez has yet to agree a permanent deal at the Premier League and Champions League title holders, raising concerns he could be tempted elsewhere.
“I sat down with him only last week to stress that our faith in him is absolute and, that he remains a top player in the eyes of myself, the players and supporters,” Ferguson told The Guardian.
“It’s just that three players won’t fit into two positions and my job is to balance the team.
“It could be done against certain opposition, but it isn’t the real solution and we are doing so well I don’t want to meddle too much.
“Carlos understands this and I have explained that when the season really hots up we will need everyone.”