Man City's Yaya Toure Likely to Stay, but His Reputation Has Been Badly Damaged

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2014

Manchester City's Yaya Toure, left, and manager Manuel Pellegrini stand by the trophy as the team celebrate in the city centre the day after they won the English Premier League title, Manchester, England, Monday May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The joy at securing their second title in three seasons has soon dissipated. Instead of basking in the glory of their latest success, Manchester City are embroiled in a media storm regarding the future of their star midfielder, Yaya Toure, with the player and his agent, Dimitri Seluk, suggesting he may consider a move to elsewhere.

It's a bizarre situation when just over a week after winning the Premier League to cap a superb season for the club, their highest-paid player suddenly decides make noise about a possible transfer in the most absurd way possible. Lack of birthday cakes and pictures around the Etihad Stadium appeared initially to be Seluk's biggest gripe, with Toure following up his agent's various rants with an interview for beIN SPORTS in which he hints at a move back to Barcelona.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

However, it seems the goalposts have moved yet again after Seluk's latest round of interviews on his three-day tour of every media outlet in the country, with the promise of a coaching role now at the centre of their demands (via BBC Sport). Detached from reality doesn't really cover the behaviour they've displayed in the last few days.

But City are, of course, in a strong position. Toure has three years left on his current £220k-a-week deal, so they won't be pressured into doing a deal that doesn't suit them. With very few clubs able to match his wages, offers are unlikely to be flying in. It seems logical, therefore, to expect him to still be lining up for City next season.

And if City did decide to cash in and take a stand against Seluk and Toure's posturing, they would make a profit on a 31-year-old who has helped them to two titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup since his £24 million move in 2010. It would represent a great deal for the club in retrospect and give them a war chest to spend this summer, with Toure expected to fetch in the region of £35-40 million.

City could use that money to tempt younger players capable of going some way towards filling the void he would leave. If, let's say, City ended up with Ross Barkley and Paul Pogba in place of the Ivorian, they would probably consider it good business, with two of Europe's finest young talents on board to replace a player who will surely begin to decline in the not-too-distant future.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Of course, under normal circumstances, City would want to keep Toure. He is a player unmatched in world football; a unique talent who often appears unplayable. His 24 goals in all competitions this season was a remarkable achievement for a midfielder free from defensive duties and trusted by his manager to go forward as often as possible. His importance to City cannot be underestimated, but if the public disruptions continue, the club would be well advised to think about letting him leave.

Regardless of whether he stays or goes, though, it's an episode that has damaged Toure's reputation. Seluk is behaving unprofessionally, with his client seemingly showing blind faith in his methods and dragging his own good name through the mud. It all seems completely unnecessary to the average football fan.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_.