Could Tevez be the catalyst for a City revival?
Manchester City and Carlos Tevez may just be about to embark on their own version, opening at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and taking in crucial dates between now and mid-May.
The notion of Tevez emerging to play any part in Manchester City's pursuit of the Premier League title was one of the most far-fetched in the game after allegations he refused to come on as substitute in the Champions League game away to Bayern Munich in September.
Since that night in the Allianz Arena, Tevez and his representatives explored virtually every avenue in attempt to find a way out of Manchester, a route that took them from Corinthians in Brazil to both Milan clubs as well as Paris Saint-Germain.
Carlos Tevez has been back in training with City for a number of weeks. Photo: Associated Press
In January it was calculated that Tevez's dispute with Manchester City had cost him £9.3m in fines, wages and lost bonuses with a charge for gross misconduct thrown in for good measure.
The door that was slammed shut in Tevez's face by Mancini was nudged slightly ajar when he apologised "sincerely and unreservedly" in February and may now open fully when Chelsea arrive for a meeting of huge significance.
Mancini said on Tuesday: "It's possible. He is getting better but I don't think Carlos can have more than 25-30 minutes. He needs to play but for 90 minutes it is impossible."
The Italian may only use Tevez as a substitute, even then for only 30 minutes, but this is an indication that football managers remain prime operators in realism, especially when their team is under pressure after falling behind to Manchester United in the title race.
The prospect of Tevez pulling on a City shirt may even be regarded as unpalatable by some inside the club. At this defining stage of the season, however, pragmatic trumps unpalatable when there is a Premier League to be won or lost.
City can close the gap on United to one point with victory, so this is hardly a moment of crisis for Mancini but there is little doubt they have started to feel the pinch, as proved by their defeat at Swansea City and exit over two legs to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League.
Mancini would presumably have wanted to get the job done without Tevez, especially after lavishing the best part of £86m on Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. He may not, however, reach the finishing line without turning to Tevez.
City need a spark and it seems all things can be forgiven, or at least temporarily forgotten, when there is the danger of a first title since 1967-68 slipping away. This is where Tevez may come in, whether it is Mancini's preferred option on not.
Tevez has been called many things in the last seven months, but at no stage has he been called a bad footballer. Fit and in the right mood, he is a proven inspiration and goalscorer. If all the pieces fit, Tevez could be the catalyst City need.
He has proved a match-winner in the past, even with all the baggage that accompanies him. Mancini will know his job is to win the Premier League and will use Tevez to help him do it if needed.
If Tevez can provide the push City need to claw United back, then the wisdom of Mancini bringing the outcast back into the fold will not be questioned. The criticism will come if it fails.
Thousands of City supporters also washed their hands of Tevez in those dark months, but it is a lot easier to do that when you are in a position of some strength in the league. It is a little harder to be choosy when your neighbours, well-versed in the art of winning the Premier League, have picked up momentum and moved into the lead.
If Tevez can yet make a decisive contribution, then at least some of the sour taste he has left this season may be soothed.
Last term, when City were aiming to end a 35-year trophy drought and win the FA Cup, BBC Sport's Alan Hansen told me: "Of all the foreign players who have come to the Premier League, certainly the forwards, Tevez has got the best work-rate.
"He shows such commitment that he drags his team-mates with him, elevates them. They see him chasing every lost cause and feel obliged to do the same."
If Tevez can recreate that mood, have that same effect, even if only for a few weeks, then City and Mancini may yet be winners - not only when it is measured in silverware but also in cash by reminding potential suitors of his value in the market.
Hell may not have frozen over - but it is just getting chilly enough for Mancini to think what once seemed the unthinkable.