Yaya Toure is on his way out of Manchester City.
After not being included in Pep Guardiola‘s 21-man squad for the UEFA Champions League, Toure is on borrowed time at the Etihad Stadium.
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Toure, 33, is still contracted to City until next summer but he is free to discuss a contract with any non-English teams in January 2017 and his agent, Dimitri Seluk, claims he has already had offers from China, Italy, MLS and Turkey.
Seluk also stated that there was interest from Arsenal and Manchester United but City were unwilling to do business with them for the towering Ivorian central midfielder.
Via Sky Sports, Toure’s agent discussed the options on the table for the four-time winner of the African Footballer of the Year award.
“Yaya in January can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs abroad,” Seluk said. “He will have many offers from clubs. China and America of course they want him but we will have a lot of offers from England and Europe. He is in very good shape, very good condition, I think he lost seven kilograms. Maybe that’s not good enough for Guardiola, but then Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t good enough for him (at Barcelona).”
Seluk doesn’t like Guardiola and it is pretty clear the feeling is mutual from Guardiola’s end. He’s intimated as much in multiple press conferences as Toure’s outspoken agent also suggested that millions of TV viewers in Africa will no longer watch Man City due to Guardiola’s treatment of Toure since he arrived as manager in the summer.
Along with Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony, it was quite clear Toure wasn’t part of Guardiola’s plans at City. He also sold Toure when he was in charge at Barcelona and it is not a shock that Toure — who has won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup at City — will be moving on. However, it was a shock that he didn’t manage to get a loan move elsewhere before the summer transfer window slammed shut.
His reported wages of over $265,000 per week are probably a big reason why Toure hasn’t moved on but the fact that he could well go without regular action for the next four months could harm him when the January transfer window opens.
In MLS, he will likely have plenty of suitors with New York City FC the obvious option given their connection with Man City, plus Frank Lampard‘s contract set to expire in December 2016. LA Galaxy will perhaps no longer have Steven Gerrard with his contract also expiring in December plus Minnesota United and Atlanta United will join MLS in 2017 and Toure could be a very attractive option for teams looking for a Designated Player who can raise their global profile and also deliver goals from midfield. If they’re in to that.
In the case of Minnesota United, it doesn’t seem like signing veteran DP stars is the route they’ll go down, but who knows. China seems like a very realistic option for Toure with the huge sums of money being spent there and the Chinese Super League winter transfer window opens on Jan. 1 and will end in late February.
Wherever he ends up, let’s not forget, in the 2013-14 title-winning season Toure scored 24 goals from midfield for Man City in all competitions and over the past two seasons he’s scored 20 goals in 79 appearances in all competitions.
Even if Guardiola doesn’t want him, that’s not bad at all from big Yaya. When he is at his best, there are still very few central midfielders who can match his goalscoring ability and driving runs from midfield.