The future of Yaya Touré has been one of the big mysteries of the transfer window so far. First there was talk of a big money move to China, then links to Roberto Mancini’s Inter resurfaced. The Serie A club seemed to be the most likely destination for the 33-year-old, until club chiefs told Mancini it wasn’t going to happen.
So, what does the future hold for City’s ageing talisman? The Sunday Mirror reported today that Pep Guardiola wants to keep Touré, because few know his philosophy and style of play like he does, having worked under the City boss at Barcelona. That story has backing now from Barcelona-based newspaper SPORT.
According to SPORT’s information, City have no plans to force Touré out of the club, despite more controversial comments from his agent Dimitri Seluk in recent months, including his claim that Guardiola is ‘overrated’. City’s stance is that they are happy to keep the Ivorian and will only consider a sale if a suitable offer arrives. At this point, the likelihood of that appears slim, unless Yaya decides he fancies China after all.
Yaya Touré looked a player in decline last season, both technically and physically. He made fewer passes per game than ever before in the Premier League, with his accuracy also decreasing. However, standards slipped throughout the team last season and Pep Guardiola has high standards. With that in mind, it isn’t out of the question that he could get one last hurrah out of the big man before his contract expires.
Guillem Balague, author of “Pep Guardiola: Another Way of Winning: The Biography”, revealed on BBC Radio 5 Live the other day that Guardiola has Touré (and Samir Nasri) doing extra training sessions because he is out of shape. Could we see a slimmer, fitter and more motivated Yaya Touré play his part in the new era under Pep Guardiola?