Manchester City Transfer News: Latest on Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on November 19, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Manchester City are reportedly considering offering a new contract to veteran midfielder Yaya Toure, and the man himself has insisted he's capable of playing at the highest level for five more years.

The 33-year-old has forced his way back into manager Pep Guardiola plans, having previously been omitted from the team's UEFA Champions League squad earlier in the season. Speaking to Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, he suggested there's still more to come.

"I can go on for another five years," the Ivorian said when asked about his future. "You don't believe me? OK. Let's make a bet."

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Leroy Sane during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on February 1, 2017 in Stratford, Engl
Clive Rose/Getty Images

According to Mullock, City have yet to decide whether to offer Toure, who's "shed weight and gained an admirer in Guardiola," a contract extension. The midfielder's deal with the Etihad Stadium club is set to expire at the end of the campaign.

Since arriving at City from Barcelona in 2010, Toure has established himself as one of the best players in Premier League history, helping the team to two titles with some outstanding midfield displays. Having been marginalised by Guardiola early in the Catalan's tenure, he's back in the starting XI and playing an important role again.

These numbers from Squawka Football sum up just how valuable the midfielder's contributions have been in sky blue:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Yaya Toure has now scored 61 goals for Man City in the league; more than any other Premier League midfielder since he joined the club. https://t.co/OyWVDQT99E

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It's clear City are seeking to lower the average age of their squad, signing the likes of John Stones, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus in recent windows. However, having a player like Toure around, with bags of experience and plenty of class, has its benefits.

Toure has been operating in a deeper midfield position under Guardiola in recent weeks, picking up possession from the defence and setting the team on their way in attack. Although he may no longer have the dynamism to shine in that position against elite outfits, there's no doubt he still has a role to play at the Etihad.

Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna Linked with West Ham

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium on January 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Image
Clive Mason/Getty Images

According to Neil Moxley of the Sunday Mirror, West Ham United are ready to swoop for Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna should Manchester City not offer the pair contract extensions.

Both right-backs only have until the end of the campaign to run on their deals, and while they are both past their best, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is said to be keen to add some experience to his defensive setup.

Sagna has been impressive at City since he joined from Arsenal in 2014, but Zabaleta's departure would be the most galling for those who frequent the Etihad. The Argentina international has become a hugely popular player since arriving in 2008 and, like Toure, has been a key part of the most successful spell in the team's history.

Guardiola has sought to utilise Zabaleta in different roles since his arrival last summer. Per James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph, that hasn’t worked out too well:

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

Zabaleta at CM v #EFC when Aleix Garcia on bench. Senior full-backs all flailing but Maffeo sent on loan. Why they not getting a go? #MCFC

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

For eg, Davies starts in midfield for #EFC last Sun but Pep chooses 32y/o ageing RB Zabaleta over 19y/o midfielder Aleix Garcia for #mcfc

For the City boss, during his time at Bayern Munich and Barcelona, full-backs have been crucial to the way in which his teams have operated. At the Etihad, Guardiola doesn't have the dynamic and versatile figures needed, with Zabaleta, Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov all over 30 and on the decline.

Consequently, it'd be no surprise if both players were allowed to depart at the end of the campaign and for the manager to begin an overhaul of a City defence that's struggled for the majority of 2016-17.


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