For Yaya Toure, the summer of 2016 was … well, let’s say it was eventful.
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There was the protracted saga of “will he stay, or will he go?” that ensued (much of which, it should be said, was orchestrated and/or conducted by his agent) with Pep Guardiola, his former manager — with whom he clashed at Barcelona — about to become his new manager.
August, and the start of the Premier League season, arrived, and Toure remained a Manchester City player, though he was left off the roster for UEFA Champions League group-stage games and didn’t make his first appearance in the PL until Nov. 19. Since then, the Ivorian legend has become a crucial piece to Guardiola’s midfield puzzle as Man City attempt to keep pace with runaway league leaders Chelsea.
Following Sunday’s comeback victory over Arsenal, which pushed City into second in the league table (seven points behind the Blues), Toure joined NBC Sports’ broadcast team of Arlo White, Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux field-side at the Etihad Stadium (above video).
With Ilkay Gundogan (torn ACL) lost for the rest of the season this week, Toure is suddenly an undroppable pillar in the City lineup. In Toure’s four league starts this season, City are yet to drop a point. In the two games he didn’t start since making his return to the first team, City lost both games — to Chelsea and Leicester City.