On April 1, one of Russia’s biggest sporting portals, Championat, had what would normally be a huge story – quotes from Dimitri Seluk, agent of Yaya Touré, claiming that the 33-year-old Manchester City midfielder is joining Spartak Moscow in the Russian Premier League.
Seluk was quoted as saying, “An agreement has been reached with the leadership of Spartak Moscow for the signing of Yaya Touré in July 2017 as a free agent. Touré will become the highest-paid player in the history of Russian football. The contract will last for three years. Spartak see Touré as an experienced player who can lead them to victories in the Champions League.”
Other than that, Championat offered no details, and that’s because, as you probably worked out instantly, it is almost certainly an April Fools’ joke. However, the Russian site never actually clarified that, so this story has already begun circulating around Europe in a serious context.
In reality, Touré is more likely to stay in England or head to Italy if, as seems increasingly likely, he isn’t offered a new deal by Pep Guardiola. Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror reports today that the Ivorian is seeking a two-year deal and already has offers from the Premier League, meaning he could line up against City next season.
Despite Yaya’s solid form since returning from his exile, there is still no sign that Pep wants to keep him and may have a new midfielder in mind, with the Daily Star Sunday claiming City are close to a £25 million deal for Sporting and Portugal midfielder, William Carvalho.
Perhaps the slanderous words of his agent are part of the reason why Yaya Touré’s days at City may be numbered, but we can probably agree that he never said Yaya is joining Spartak Moscow and that was more April Fools’ banter from the press.