Since joining Manchester City in 2010, Yaya Toure has appeared to be perfectly happy with his situation. This season appeared no different, as Touré enjoyed his most successful season by far in an already prosperous career.
Touré netted 24 goals in 49 appearances for City, more than double his previous career high of 10 set in 2010. He was even named vice-captain under new manager Mario Pellegrini. He was named to the shortlist for PFA Player of the Year award this season and awarded a spot on the PFA Team of the Year for the second time in his career.
So, it would seem that all is right for Touré, wouldn’t it? Well, not if you measure it by birthday celebrations.
Through comments made by his agent that the 31-year-old from Ivory Coast is unhappy after his birthday (which coincided with the teams’ title celebrations) went unnoticed, Touré expressed his unhappiness with Man City and is strongly considering leaving this summer.
This leads to a difficult decision for the Sky Blues, one that isn’t easily answerable when you look at everything that needs consideration.
For starters, Touré is a seemingly irreplaceable part on City’s squad. His box-to-box play in the midfield would be invaluable on any team, especially when that player is as prolific a playmaker as someone like Touré. His ability to push forward at the end of matches and play a more attacking role has proven valuable as well, as evident by his game-tying goal in the League Cup Final against Sunderland to prompt a 3-1 victory.
So, clearly, Touré’s play on the field speaks for itself. Nobody brings City what he does in terms of ability to impact a game on both ends of the pitch. But Pellegrini and the Man City board have to ask themselves if they want to deal with the headache that Touré has become all of a sudden.
Is a player who wants to leave, as Touré’s agent acknowledged, worth keeping around? His price tag would surely exceed that of David Luiz’s reported £50m, a huge fetch for City that could be used to find a replacement for both Touré and possibly Martin Demichelis, whose contract expires at the end of next season.
By washing their hands with Touré, Man City would send a message that no one, no matter how good they are, is above the club. After all, they dealt with a similar bad apple in the past in the form of Carlos Tevez, and their decision to send him to Juventus last summer appeared to work out just fine.
Maybe this will end up being a simple misunderstanding on both sides, and City will be able to work things out with their disgruntled star. Should Touré follow through with his comments and decide to leave for, say, Liverpool, you can be assured City fans everywhere would cause an uproar.
But no one, other than Touré and his agent perhaps, knows for sure what will happen after the World Cup when this will supposedly all be taken care of.
The one thing that you can be sure of, however, is that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Yaya and the birthday celebration gone awry.