Time Might Be Right For Yaya Toure And Manchester City To Go Separate Ways

Time Might Be Right For Yaya Toure And Manchester City To Go Separate Ways

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By Graham Ruthven (@GrahamRuthven)

After years of ill-judged, and at times reckless, investment Manchester City must embark on a rebuild this summer. Of course, with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations now in place such extensive squad renovation will be almost impossible to pull off in just one transfer window, but nonetheless several big names look set to leave club.

One such name is Yaya Toure, who has dropped his heaviest hint yet that he on his way out of City by claiming he “no longer belongs” at the Etihad Stadium. “No amount of wages will make me stay at a club if I feel that I no longer belong there or if no challenge exits for me. It would be unjust on my part,” the Ivorian explained to a French publication.

Indeed, Toure has been linked with an exit from Man City ever since his agent Dimitry Seluk claimed the Premier League club had disrespected his client by not wishing the midfielder happy birthday last year. Of course, such an argument felt strongly contrived and designed to spark the rhetoric that would eventually lead to Toure’s departure.

The Ivorian will go down as a key component of the Man City side that delivered the club’s first league title in 44 years, back backed that up with another championship triumph two years later. He scored the goal against Manchester United that sent City into their first FA Cup final in 30 years – a result that is considered the club’s breakthrough into the English soccer elite.

For four years Toure has been among the Premier League’s absolute best, combining brutishness with guile in a way no other midfielder in Europe can claim to. But his decline this season has been alarming, and City should look to offload the Ivorian if they can find a buyer.

Toure has been a shadow of his former self this season, as City have merely relinquished their Premier League crown to Chelsea. For a player of such physical stature perhaps his demise is subsequent of his ageing, but there seems to be something more to his slump. His effort and application has been questioned following several limpless this term.

The point could be made that Manuel Pellegrini simply doesn’t know how to get the best out of Toure, often playing him in front of the back four rather than on the edge of the opposition penalty area where he can do most damage.

Seluk maintains that Toure isn’t necessarily set to leave Man City, reiterating that the player’s future will not be decided by whichever club has can offer the most money. It’s about the sporting challenge, apparently.

“People think will stay because of money. We don’t care about money,” insisted Toure’s long-time agent. “If Man City don’t want him, no problem. We have had different offers for Yaya but we must speak to Manchester City. I want someone to say that they want Yaya to stay at Manchester City. Yaya is a legend at the club. All the supporters like him, he’s helped them make history.”

But it could be about the money for City. At 31-years-old and on the decline, the £240,000 being handed to Toure every week – with his contract running until 2017 – doesn’t exactly represent great value for a club struggling to fall within the restrictions set by FFP regulations. Man City could get better for their money in this summer’s transfer market. 

This isn’t to say that Toure is finished as a top-level player, though. It’s just that as things appear, he has become languid and lethargic at Man City. In a sense, Seluk could be right – in that his client certainly doesn’t seem stimulated by objective posed to him at City right now. Players and clubs rarely part on mutual terms, but this could be a rare instance.

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