Why Manchester City Should Sell Star Midfielder Yaya Toure and Move on

Phil KeidelContributor IIJuly 14, 2014

Hey, Gloomy Gus, that's the league trophy...how about a smile?
Hey, Gloomy Gus, that's the league trophy...how about a smile?Jon Super/Associated Press

Yaya Toure is trying to talk himself out of Manchester and, this one final time, Manchester City should give the giant Ivorian what he clearly wants.

If made, the decision to send Toure away would not be personal. It would be strictly business.

Toure has spent the summer accusing City of affronting their star midfielder personally.

First came the absurd birthday cake fiasco, as reported by Joe Mewis of the Mirror, which was really unbecoming of a player of Toure's professional reputation and stature in the game—to say nothing of his leadership role at City.

Next came a far more serious and heavy charge from Toure, as reported by Metro. If his allegations against City in reference to Ibrahim Toure's illnessfrom which Yaya's brother eventually succumbedare true, Toure would be well within his rights to turn on City and never look back.

City have a real "smoke means fire" problem with Toure no matter how much of his griping carries any merit.

Ben Jefferson reported recently for the Express that it is an open question "whether Toure is determined to force through a move, and, if so, whether Chelsea or Liverpool can see off PSG in the race for the 31-year-old."

Jefferson's piece cited Le Parisien's quote from an unnamed international teammate: "He has accumulated too many grudges. ... He will do everything to ensure his departure this summer."

As Crowded House put it, "It would cause me pain if we were to end it. But I could start again, you can depend on it."
As Crowded House put it, "It would cause me pain if we were to end it. But I could start again, you can depend on it."Jamie McDonald/Getty Images


City bosses Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano cannot be too pleased with hearing so much grumbling from a player who receives checks in the neighborhood of £200,000 a week, according to the Telegraph's Mark Ogden.

While moving Toure now might appear reactionary due to recent events, it would actually be prescient and proactive.

Legendary Major League Baseball executive Branch Rickey said it best (via Baseball Almanac): "Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late."

Despite his petulance, Toure's value this summer will be as high as it is ever apt to be again.

Toure's last Premier League appearance ended with him stooping to receive his second Premier League winner's medal in three seasons.

Thanks to his free-kick and penalty-spot excellence—and in part to semi-regular Sergio Aguero injuries—Toure finished the 2013-14 Premier League season as the league's third-leading scorer.

Toure may not show appreciable signs of slippage in his performance in 2014-15, but he is signed through 2016-17. By the time that contract ends, he will be 34 years old.

It is not meant as a jibe to point out that 34 is how old Steven Gerrard is now. It is meant as a point of bloodless reference.

You might fairly ask whom City will get to replace Toure. The answer, at least immediately, is that City probably cannot replace Toure in the strictest sense.

Ball-moving men of Toure's size and deft touch are just not out there to be had in the transfer window. If Toure wants to stay, City would be best off keeping him.

With that said, for a club with Financial Fair Play problems, the booty Toure's sale would bring might cure a few ills.

Besides, Toure does not much seem to want to stay. Keeping him in Manchester as a prisoner of his contract and allowing him to infect the changing room would invite a return to the sniping, imploding last days of the Roberto Mancini era.

The whole sad saga reminds me of the great Earth, Wind & Fire song, "After the Love is Gone": "What used to be right is wrong/Can love that's lost be found?"

In my experience? Don't bet on it.