He is one of City’s greatest ever players, but does Yaya Touré have a future at the Club after this season?
His future could in fact be linked to Pep Guardiola’s arrival (or non-arrival). Most evidence still points to Guardiola taking over despite talk of a sabbatical – talk that sounds suspiciously like a tactic to take pressure off whoever he will be replacing.
Guardiola was happy to see Yaya, then 27, leave Barcelona in 2010, preferring Sergio Busquets in his Barcelona midfield. So would a Touré approaching the age of 33 and seemingly incompatible with Pep’s pressing system be of interest to him?
And then there are the new links with Julian Weigl, who the German press claim City want to replace Yaya. Younger legs, able to press and run for 90 minutes, while bringing the exquisite passing we’ve seen from Yaya.
So what to make of a comment from Sky Italia transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio, who said Chinese side Jiangsu Suning ‘dream’ of signing the 4-time African Footballer of the Year? Di Marzio’s colleague Luca Marchetti elaborated a little, saying Jiangsu representatives have been in contact with Yaya (or more likely his agent Dimitri Seluk, who all City fans would be happy to see the back of).
The first thought is to rule this out. Yaya is in decline, that is abundantly clear, but he still has much to offer and is levels above the Chinese league. But so are Paulinho, Ricardo Goulart and Diego Tardelli, all Brazilian internationals who could be playing in Europe. Former Shakhtar goal machine Luiz Adriano is close to leaving AC Milan for China too, his most likely destination being Jiangsu. The eyes of the Chinese are even on Wayne Rooney if reports are to be believed.
Money is a powerful tool and the Chinese league is awash in it after support from the government. China is very serious about football and a state-owned conglomerate recently bought 13% of the City Football Group. Could that link help facilitate a move to China for Touré?
Roberto Mancini’s Inter have also been credited with a renewed interest in Yaya, with Geoffrey Kondogbia, the midfielder they signed instead last summer, failing to impress. Touré will have options if he is to leave City next summer, but it’s unlikely that any of them will be as lucrative as an offer from China.