Inter executive claims deal for Yaya Toure is close

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Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti has claimed that his club is nearing the completion of a deal for Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.

The 32-year-old Ivorian’s future is rife with speculation given his and his agent’s public comments this season coupled with his age and performance. Toure has repeatedly shown flashes of his title-winning form of last season, but has also looked a step off the pace at times, lending the belief that he is on the decline.

“We are at the stage where we hope we can complete it,” Zanetti told Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. “Yaya would give us that leap in quality.”

Inter makes perfect sense as a landing point for Toure. His box-to-box abilities fit with the Italian game, and current Inter manager Roberto Mancini is the man who signed him at Manchester City from Barcelona in 2010. Unfortunately, such a move would mean Toure would miss out on Champions League play next season, with Inter currently sitting in eighth position in Serie A looking for an outside shot at the Europa League with two matches left in the Italian season.

While Toure is a main fixture in the Manchester City squad, it would be more than justifiable to cut him loose now given his age and resulting dip in form. His position requires someone in peak condition to run up and down the pitch, and while they’d lose his ability to make plays seemingly out of nothing, his departure would be understandable should a suitable replacement be found. Toure often disappeared from entire matches and required frequent rest to replenish his fitness.

Toure is reportedly the highest earner on Manchester City’s exorbitant wage bill that put it third in a recent study of the highest wage bills in world sports. He cost City approximately $33 million in transfer fee, and he likely wouldn’t command that same value now given his age.