Yaya Touré has yet to play a single minute of competitive football for Manchester City since the season kicked off. The only time Blues have been able to see him on the pitch was during the in-season friendly against Girona FC, in which he played the full 90 minutes.
34-year-old Touré was an unused substitute for the opening three Premier League fixtures against Brighton, Everton and Bournemouth, but mysteriously didn’t even make the bench against Liverpool on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola was coy when asked about the big Ivorian yesterday, saying, “I spoke to him. He knows the reason why. That stays between he and I. I always want more, not just from Yaya but from everyone.”
However, Sam Lee of Goal claims to know the reason behind Yaya’s absence, saying City’s coaching staff have become more and more concerned about Touré’s fitness levels in recent weeks. This would make sense with Guardiola saying Yaya’s absence was for “sporting reasons”.
This comes after City decided not to make a new holding midfielder a priority in the summer, always a risk given that Touré and Fernandinho are well into their 30s and İlkay Gündoğan, who it is thought will assume a deeper midfield role soon, still working his way back to fitness after a long-term injury.
City are said to be keen on FC Porto enforcer Danilo Pereira, with Portuguese newspapers stating that he is an objective for the 2018/19 season. Guardiola recently sent scouts to watch the 25-year-old feature against Braga, and if this Touré issue isn’t resolved, it may be that City bring forward plans to sign Danilo Pereira or any other midfielder they have in mind to the January window.