Yaya Toure’s Career Is Still on Track Only if Seluk Apologises
Just how long will it take to determine Yaya Toure’s future at Manchester City? The Ivorian is yet to play for City since he last featured for the club in the Champions League playoff round against Steaua Bucharest. Meanwhile, the feud between his coach, Pep Guardiola, and agent, Dimitri Seluk, remains since September.
Seluk had previously lashed out at Guardiola for leaving his player out of the City squad. The remark would lead to a consequential decision to exclude Toure from playing unless, Seluk apologized to Guardiola and the players.
Guardiola is willing to let bad blood spill and is open to the idea of Toure playing again, on condition that the player’s agent apologizes. The Spaniard responded to queries of Toure’s inclusion for City against Manchester United, in the EFL Cup tie by saying, “You know the situation.”
The City manager hoped to include Toure in his squad which he rotated to accommodate the Ivorian against United last Wednesday. Speaking ahead of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, he added, “I would like to take Yaya (with the team), believe me, I would like, but you know the situation.”
Toure’s experience would add an advantage in midfield against United, while Guardiola faces the urge to rest his players between all competitions.
For now, it appears Toure’s playing time and future overall, is in the hands of Seluk who is as an unapologetic now, as he was then.
“What do I need to apologize for?” Seluk said in September. “He (Guardiola) should speak to Yaya, who is doing his job.”
It is also important to remember that Guardiola sold Toure to City when he was boss of Barcelona in 2010. What might really stop him from doing the same, especially with the player’s agent constantly speaking against Guardiola’s tactics and unfavorable treatment, towards Toure?
Recently, Seluk called on City to intervene and tell the manager to embrace Toure as “family” at the Etihad Stadium.
He told The Sun, “They must say to Guardiola, ‘Yaya is our family’ – how is it possible to speak like this?
“It is not correct to do that. It is not correct to give up on a top-class player. But this is his decision – he is a good coach but his personality is s***.
“If Yaya is on the field or not, everyone will ask, ‘What is this decision from Guardiola?’ Normally a person cannot make a decision like this.
“And it is England not North Korea or Afghanistan – so people will discuss whether it is right and they will have their opinions.”
But Toure may need to assess his future and probably come to the realization that City just like Barcelona, will move on without him. Joe Hart, Samir Nasri are among the top players surprisingly left out of Guardiola’s new system – both on loan.
The arrival of IIkay Gundogan appears to show that City’s midfield is moving on without Toure. In addition, performances from Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling have displayed City’s growing threat in attack, still without Toure.
Seluk is correct about the fact that Guardiola is operating from a vantage point – calling the shots and making final decisions. His (Guardiola) position gives him authority to do so and he may not tolerate the situation for so long.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I cannot imagine in my period when I was a football player, my manager going to the media and speaking against Johan Cruff, about this and about that,”[/perfectpullquote]
Guardiola said in September in response to Seluk’s remarks.
Seluk’s attitude towards City has cast a media problem on the club. But the Ukrainian is merely an agent and the only way the club can get rid of him is by releasing his player. Unless Toure does something about it. On the other hand, Toure seats on an approximately £200,000 per-week contract which ends early next year.
But a free agent status leaves Toure without leverage to prove his worth on the pitch, something worth considering. In addition to that, the 33-year-old Ivorian is aging and club-agent-feuds, might not present positively on the player’s career. The Ivorian’s age will also affect his playing time as it has for many players in top flight football.
But just how invested is Toure in his career and the future it awaits? Former West Ham striker, Dean Ashton, was severely criticized the Ivorian’s handling of the situation, thus far. Aston came out to question Toure’s interest and commitment to playing.
Ashton said, “He is basically saying, ‘Well, you have left me out of your squad so I am going to spit my dummy out, if you aren’t going to play me I am on X amount, I will sit here and wait for you to sell me.
“If he really wanted to play, surely he would tell his agent, ‘Keep your mouth shut, I will apologize, even if I don’t mean it, so I can play’.”
Ashton believes Toure should have taken matters into his own hands to calm the storm by advising his agent against making such remarks towards his coach. Instead, the City midfielder should prove the coach wrong on the field.
Ashton added, “Forget the agent, he is irrelevant – Yaya can sort it out.
“The agent is absolutely nothing in this because Yaya could go and say to Pep, ‘I’m sorry, my agent shouldn’t have said what he did. I have had words with him, I want to play for you and I think I can still do a job for you. If you want me, I am ready for you.”
Who will be Toure’s problem next? He still trains regularly and is as fit as every other player in the squad.
Yaya Toure is training well with his teammates. Pictured left is Raheem Sterling (AFP)
According to James Ducker of the Telegraph, Toure has maintained a positive attitude despite being omitted. Ducker writes on that the Ivory Coast star lost at least 10 pounds since the summer as a sign of his determination to be a part of Guardiola’s plans.
While many expected Toure to leave following Guardiola’s arrival – a fate Toure suffered in Barcelona – the Ivorian instead chose to fulfill his days out at the club and looked forward to another season at City.
The Ivorian’s exclusion from the squad and a growing feud between his agent and coach, has led to his absence on the pitch, while his City contract nears an uncertain future.
Seluk previously mentioned several offers for his client, mostly from Europe, America and China.
Reports claim that Arsenal and Manchester United could be lead targets in the race to sign Toure on a free transfer. Inter Milan and Juventus may also have an interest. But Toure prefers playing in Europe, with special interest in England and while January approaches, a pre-contract will enable him move to a club on a free transfer.
Calcio Mercato reported the claim which was also backed by English publication, Express. The latter reported that Arsenal are willing to place a bumper offer for Toure to lure the player away from any other offers.
Toure maybe unfavored by his agent’s attitude and the fact that his prime days are almost behind him. But his presence on the field is not to be written off just yet, a notable quality that may still spark interest from other top clubs.
Whatever the case, this dispute between agent and coach is escalating beyond the field and eating into Toure’s playing time.
Seluk also told The Sun, “Okay, Guardiola has won matches this season, so everyone must only see his fantastic football. But his personality is far from great. I repeat the message from everywhere that he has been from Barcelona to Bayern Munich. Many people don’t like him.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”When Yaya came to the club, they spent only £20 million on players, not Guardiola who comes and buys three or four big signings – maybe he’ll spend £1 billion in players.”[/perfectpullquote]
“After that he will say it is very difficult and £1 billion is not enough. If he comes to West Brom would he win the title?”
Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News said, “It is a sorry situation where Toure – a man who has made such an impact on big occasions against United and others – will sit out a derby because of some silly words.”
Toure was a key figure in winning the title under Pellegrini in 2013-14, registering 24 goals. But since then, his form and fitness has dropped and has not been able to adapt to Guardiola’s style of player with the latter citing a lack of intensity without the ball.
Featured Photo: Pep Guardiola is willing to give Yaya Toure playing time (Getty Images)