Le Grand Départ – will Yaya be on his bike this summer?

As the 101st Tour de France arrives in Yorkshire, there’s consternation on the other side of the Pennines that Manchester City’s very own ‘Toure de Force’ could yet be peddling his talents on the other side of the Channel when the new season kicks off.

City’s Ivorian colossus, Yaya, and his notorious representative Dmitri Seluk, have seemingly been orchestrating a media campaign to help engineer a money-spinning move away from the Etihad to Paris Saint-Germain.

Controversial summer - Yaya has been at the centre of debate among City fans. Courtesy @MCFC

Controversial summer – Yaya has been at the centre of debate among City fans. Courtesy @MCFC

Puerile drivel about City’s alleged lack of respect towards the world class midfielder, has seen Yaya’s standing and reputation tarnished in the eyes of many City fans.

Ridiculous and childish, not to mention baseless accusations, about birthday cakes and handshakes via the perilous medium of Twitter, has left many a metaphorical ‘PR’ bullet lodged in Yaya’s magical feet.

The man, quite rightly worshipped as an on-the-field City legend after two Premier League titles, FA and League Cup victories in just four years, delivered a masterclass in how to go from hero to zero in 140 characters.

Cakegate - Birthday wishes, handshakes & Bugatti Vayron supercars - Yaya has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Courtesy @MCFC

Cakegate – Birthday wishes, handshakes & Bugatti Vayron supercars – Yaya has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Courtesy @MCFC

Direct quotes and TV interviews proclaiming it would be ‘…an honour…’ to play for PSG, if he was required, further inflamed a situation leaving City’s fans puzzled and perplexed just days after the club’s greatest ever single season.

Murmurings of a return to Barcelona, Yaya’s football ‘home’ also went down like a lead balloon with the City faithful.

Such assertions were built on foundations of sand, with new Barca boss Luis Enrique distancing himself from any scenario involving Yaya taking up employment at the Nou Camp.

As he held the Premier League trophy aloft following the title clinching 2-0 win over West Ham on May 11th, who in their worst football nightmares would have contemplated for a nano second, the possibility of Yaya departing?

100 NOT OUT - Yaya hit his 20th and City's 100th PL goal of the season. Courtsey @MCFC

100 NOT OUT – Yaya hit his 20th and City’s 100th PL goal of the season. Courtsey @MCFC

The diatribe of nonsense just kept on coming from demented Dmitri, apparently with Yaya’s blessing, and as the media lapped up the almost daily controversy engulfing the newly-crowned champions, Yaya retreated behind a glib statement saying he was focused on the Ivory Coast’s World Cup campaign.

He would clarify matters once his country’s participation in the competition was at an end.

Seluk dangled an olive branch of sorts saying Yaya wasn’t interested in improving the terms of the three remaining years on his contract. It wasn’t about money, it all came down to ‘respect’ and City should make a pledge to Yaya of a ‘job for life’, a key role, similar to that accorded to Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

So, if it had nothing to do with materialism, why did Seluk insist on using the analogy of Roberto Carlos receiving a Bugatti Vayron supercar as a birthday gift from Anzhi Makhachkala’s billionaire owner, Suleyman Kerimov?

Early exit - Yaya and the Ivory Coast suffered a shock at the World Cup, not going beyond the group stage. Courtesy @MCFC

Early exit – Yaya and the Ivory Coast suffered a shock at the World Cup, not going beyond the group stage. Courtesy @MCFC

And there’s poor old Yaya, virtually destitute on his reputed £220k weekly wage, having to settle for a couple of enhanced Victoria Sponges – one can only empathise with such a less than ‘self-raising’ experience.

Fans were becoming increasingly alienated from the player credited with being the biggest single influence on City’s title and League Cup wins.

With an outstanding haul of 20 goals from 35 PL appearances – only the second midfielder along with Chelsea’s Frank Lampard to achieve such a feat – Yaya would be totally deserving of being acclaimed as City’s Player of the Season.

The fact that voting takes place from today – July 4th – and runs for a week, will be a telling barometer of the mood of the fans.

Based solely on performances, Yaya would be the undeniable favourite, eclipsing the claims of fellow nominees David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Pablo Zabaleta.

Player of the Season - Yaya's wonderful form in City's title win should see him acclaimed on August 14...or will the fans choose an alternative after a summer of Yaya discontent? Courtesy @MCFC

Player of the Season – Yaya’s wonderful form in City’s title win should see him acclaimed on August 14…or will the fans choose an alternative after a summer of Yaya discontent? Courtesy @MCFC

Arguably, Yaya could have been the PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year, but both opted to honour the undeniable brilliance and ‘reformed’ character of a certain Luis Suarez…and we all know how that one turned out, as El Rodento went back to his old gnawing habits in the Brazilian sunshine.

The litmus test will be whether Yaya’s post season protestations and antics overshadow his massive contribution to a season that showcased his talents like never before.

It’s easily forgotten that despite his undoubted success at Barcelona where he won just about every medal going – Champions League, La Liga (twice), Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup – it’s only since his arrival at City that he has achieved truly global prominence.

You're unbelievable - Yaya became only the 2nd ever midfielder to notch 20 PL goals in a single season. Courtesy @MCFC

You’re unbelievable – Yaya became only the 2nd ever midfielder to notch 20 PL goals in a single season. Courtesy @MCFC

Credit where credit is due, it was the now oft maligned Roberto Mancini, who ‘converted’ Yaya into the powerhouse attacking midfielder, the virtually unstoppable, match-winning juggernaut that City fans laud and celebrate.

He’s scored 55 goals in a total of 183 League and Cup appearances at City. Contrast that with 18 goals in 230 games in the rest of his club career in Belgium (Beveren), Ukraine (Metalurh Donetsk), Greece (Olympiacos), France (Monaco) and Spain (Barcelona).

The most troubling single and saddening aspect of Yaya’s summer of discontent is the tragic death of his and Kolo’s younger brother, Ibrahim, who died at just 28 years, from cancer.

Barcelona bound - Yaya had hinted at a return to the Nou Camp - but that isn't happening. Courtesy @MCFC

Barcelona bound – Yaya had hinted at a return to the Nou Camp – but that isn’t happening. Courtesy @MCFC

Having suffered the devastating loss of a sibling, I can only sympathise and empathise with Yaya, Kolo and the extended Toure family. The grief and pain, especially at the death of such a young person, can engulf an individual and take them to an emotionally dark place.

Yaya and Kolo were representing Ivory Coast in the World Cup at the time of Ibrahim’s passing. Bearing the burden whilst being so far away can hardly have helped.

Death can often put things in life into perspective. People react in different ways – anger, frustration, guilt – such a gamut of feelings often accompany the indescribable pain and emptiness of grief.

City of compassion - Manuel Pellegrini is one of a number of key figures at the club who have taken compassionate leave in the past. Courtesy @MCFC

City of compassion – Manuel Pellegrini is one of a number of key figures at the club who have taken compassionate leave in the past. Courtesy @MCFC

Following the loss of his brother, Yaya was reported to have said City refused him time off to be with Ibrahim at the end of the PL campaign, instead insisting that he went on the end of season trip to Abu Dhabi.

Yaya is said to have cited it as another example of City’s alleged ‘lack of respect’ for him. Such an allegation doesn’t stack up.

City, who have maintained a dignified silence throughout Yaya and Dmitri’s rants, are said to have diplomatically informed the media that they did not receive any request from Yaya for compassionate leave.

Strong leadership - Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak is a firm hand when dealing with 'delicate' situations at City. Courtesy @MCFC

Strong leadership – Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak is a firm hand when dealing with ‘delicate’ situations at City. Courtesy @MCFC

Such a simplistic one-liner speaks volumes, especially when set against the backdrop of the club’s track record of supporting players and managers during times of personal turmoil or tragedy.

Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Pablo Zabaleta, Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini are prime examples where they have – quite rightly – been accorded time away from City to help deal with family matters.

In the wake of a very demanding 2013/14 season and all that has gone on since, Yaya has said he is physically and emotionally drained – understandably so.

The matter of his return to the Etihad and the honouring of the three years remaining on his four year deal, has still to be addressed. The club have maintained the status quo that Yaya is, and will remain, a City player.

Big influence - A fit and focused returning Yaya would be a major factor as City seek to retain the PL title and go all the way in the Champions League. Courtesy @MCFC

Big influence – A fit and focused returning Yaya would be a major factor as City seek to retain the PL title and go all the way in the Champions League. Courtesy @MCFC

The likelihood is that it will indeed be the case as the club attempts to retain their PL crown and make serious inroads into the latter stages of the Champions League.

A fit and focused Yaya Toure is a huge asset in the achievement of such lofty aspirations, but a disenchanted and lack lustre Yaya would present City with a dilemma that would surpass that of anything that has gone before with the likes of Carlos Tevez or Mario Balotelli.

City have demonstrated their strength and resolve in the face of any petulance or indiscipline from within the dressing room – or manager’s office – in the recent past. They won’t hesitate to do so again.

For the sake of continuity and keeping the wheels of success spinning, Yaya needs to apply the brakes on any further misguided utterances.

 

David Walker

@djwskyblu www.readbutneverred.com

 

 

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39 Comments

  1. July 4, 2014  12:48 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    I feel sorry for all the Toure family its never easy to lose a loved one & i extend my deepest sympathy's to them.
    But City should sit Yaya down & say do you want to play for this club or not ? If yes then tell him & his agent no more of this complying to the media if there's a problem then go to the club if no then put him on the list & sell him but at city's value not his or his agent. I love the guy to bits but this is happing to much for me nearly ever season theirs something from him & his agent. We only want players at the club that want to play for us if they don't then get rid.

    • July 5, 2014  3:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      100% in agreement Doug - thanks fella.

  2. July 4, 2014  1:07 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    You've had squatters, but I like the new style.

    There may have been technically better goals than the '100 not out' featured above and certainly more important ones.The game was won, he was knackered, but it showed Yaya's will to win and above all, that he is a warrior.

    Hopefully, after he has refreshed his batteries, common sense will return.

    • July 5, 2014  3:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      We are as one TT. Technical improvements and a RBNR refresh for the new season as work in progress. Just need to decide if I can sustain 6 or 7 articles per week in 2014/15!

  3. July 4, 2014  1:09 pm by Ian Reply

    Clear & incisive discourse, the situation MUST be resolved quickly

    • July 4, 2014  4:04 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yaya is a great player and a talisman for City but the club cannot and should not have to put up with this adolescent behavior. Of course he has our sympathies for his and his family's tragic loss, but if there was any element of truth in his accusation that City denied him time to be with his brother, then surely that would have been the centre of any argument...not birthday cakes, handshakes and all the rest of the spurious claims.

  4. July 4, 2014  1:18 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Great piece David. Will be interesting if he stays the reception he gets at the first home game. He seems the sort who would walk off in a hump if he gets booed. As good as he is I don't want him at our club if he's just gonna carry on sulking for the rest of his time at City.
    Cheers. Nev

    • July 4, 2014  4:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      Clearly Yaya has to build some bridges both with the fans and the club itself. He needs to clarify any 'misunderstandings' - we'll give him the benefit of the doubt shall we - because if the ambiguity that presently exists is allowed to continue there will be disharmony somewhere along the way. He's a great player, but undoubtedly a self serving individual. He needs to come clean and either seek a move or apply himself to the task in hand. I've seen at close quarters he is somewhat aloof and for him playing at City is simply a job. That said he is extraordinarily well paid and he surely knows that respect is a two-way street.

  5. July 4, 2014  1:20 pm by JK Reply

    Well written article. It seems like every week that goes by since the end of the season we've had another moan from Toure - I appreciate that he's in mourning but why does he (or his agent) have to make public statements. If he's not happy at City put in a transfer request - don't make yourself look like a chump by making up stories that have no foundation. If he stays at City next season he's going to get a lot of shit from away supporters and to be honest he deserves it.

    • July 4, 2014  4:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      Agree with you on all points JK. Lest we forget he was 'kicking off' before the death of his brother. By contrast, I haven't heard any self indulgent moaning from Kolo. If you look at Yaya's career, this type of behaviour is true to form. He's a great player but, it appears, a regular pain in the backside in other ways. The Sheikh, Khaldoon and MP are literally Three Wise Men, they'll sort it in the best interests of MCFC - one way or another.

  6. July 4, 2014  1:28 pm by Phil Entwistle Reply

    David, an outstanding piece of work.
    Every point covered with humour and insight.

    • July 4, 2014  4:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Phil - look forward to seeing you in August. Hope your daughter looks the business in her Campo Retro MCFC shirt.

  7. July 4, 2014  2:13 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    He was my original choice for POY but his outbursts have changed my view. We need stability and commitment so unfortunately YAYA has lost my vote.

    • July 4, 2014  4:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      For all of Yaya's outrageous statements over the past two months we're being asked to vote for the player of last season - I have a degree in stating the bleedin' obvious ;-)

      If that is the criteria, he is by far and away the most deserving of the four nominees, but I fully understand your feelings as he has undoubtedly ostracized a substantial number of City fans. If he doesn't secure a move - albeit on City's terms - then he has shown a foolishness that beggars belief.

  8. July 4, 2014  3:07 pm by Paul glennon Reply

    Great read yet again, and I agree with everything you say. Give him a few weeks off then drag him in and fing out what's going on.

    • July 5, 2014  3:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hi there big fella - great to see you reading and commenting and advocating a simple and direct approach with Yaya ;-)

  9. July 4, 2014  3:11 pm by Kenny Reply

    He doesn't know whether he's coming or going should change his name to YOYO Toure

    • July 5, 2014  3:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Maybe Kolo & Yaya should swap vowels - Yoyo and Kala. Nice observation Kenny!

  10. July 4, 2014  5:43 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Great piece David as per.The thing about this is until Yaya makes an appearance on CityTV or sonething and explains everything then judgements can't really be made.However if he is unhappy then we should get rid an unhappy Yaya would be neither use nor ornament.As the saying goes no player is bigger than the club.

    • July 4, 2014  8:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely spot on Andy. Thanks for commenting.

  11. July 4, 2014  5:43 pm by Susan richardson Reply

    It's not just himself he drags the club into the silliness as well but he should remember Tevesgate the club should not let him go unless he puts in a transfer request. Greed and ego not a good mix. He is setting himself up for some stick wherever he ends up.

    • July 4, 2014  8:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      He could do with a good PR man...coughs! ;-)

  12. July 4, 2014  7:31 pm by howells Reply

    Yaya is a great player with bad adviser... He was my player of the year.. But his sulky and childish attitude change me mind.. Honestly i would love him to apologies to @mcfc as a whole publicly... Or the other option sell him for not less than 30m pounds

    • July 4, 2014  8:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Agreed - something pro-active has to be done - and as quickly as possible. To leave this situation hanging would be naïve and ill advised. There needs to be a proverbial line drawn under this litany of misguided mishaps, one way or another.

  13. July 5, 2014  12:38 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    There's more to this than meets the eye.

    • July 5, 2014  3:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope for clarity of vision before too long. Shudda gone to Specsavers!

  14. July 5, 2014  10:07 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    There may have been technically better goals than the '100 not out' featured above and certainly more important ones.The game was won, he was knackered, but it showed Yaya's will to win and above all, that he is a warrior.

    Hopefully, after he has refreshed his batteries, common sense will prevail.

    • July 5, 2014  3:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Time for calmer waters, but it can't just be swept under the carpet, there is a need for accountability from Yaya. Notwithstanding giving him time to grieve for his brother, Yaya has to put matters straight with the fans, let alone MP and City's hierarchy.

  15. July 5, 2014  12:06 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Very good article that I am sure all blues will agree with

    To be honest the comments by Ya Ya and his dodgy agent this close season are becoming yawn yawn yawn !
    The inflated egos of the modern day "superstars" and their silly comments and "tweets" are just fodder for the media who must absolutely love them.
    The despicable Suarez and his comments about the Uk media etc etc are laughable in view of the fact it is these very people who made him, wrongly in my opinion Player of the Year. Surely other qualities in a player should be considered other than the ability to score goals.

    All the above does not detract from the tragedy of the loss of a brother at a young age and sympathy for the Toure family is due and freely given and is "outside" the silly season comments of the last couple of months.

    Hopefully, by the start of next season Ya Ya will be focused and doing what he does best in a City shirt - If not it should be a case of "thanks Ya Ya goodbye and good luck"

    • July 5, 2014  3:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      Spot on on observations RC & thanks for the feedback.

  16. July 5, 2014  3:52 pm by David Walker Reply

    Despite all that has gone on since May 11th I have still cast my vote in favour of Yaya as Player of the Season.

  17. July 6, 2014  7:22 am by steve Reply

    Great read dave, it will b resolved,, whichever way it pans out, stays or goes,, we must remember what a great player he has been for the blues,, & still gets my vote for player of the year,,,, (by a long way)

    • July 7, 2014  9:11 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Steve - thanks for your comments and yes, if it's a reflection of season 2013/14 there can only be ONE player of the year. The other element is IF Yaya actually needed a show of support - shouldn't really be necessary - but if so, then this would be it from the fans. He'll throw his toys a long way out of the pram if he wasn't recognised as POTY - NOT to be confused with potty!

  18. July 6, 2014  9:22 pm by frank borson Reply

    If Yaya was so concerned about compasionate leave,why did he go on his own mini tour to Doha, Qatar and Brazil
    when his brother was critically ill?

  19. July 8, 2014  9:09 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    I am not overly concerned about departures. I don't think Negredo, Dzeko or Yaya will be gonners (or gooners for that matter) because I don't think what's out there is any better. I am more concerned about Mangala extracting the whatsit. Time he was told to make tinkling noises or get off the pot. There seemed to be plenty of adequate CH's on display in Brazil, any two of whom would come cheaper than the Frenchman on his own.

    I don't know how true it is, because I haven't had my monthly meeting with Bergiristan, but it seems Samir has excepted a massive pay cut in exchange for a performance related package. Perhaps a £5M bonus for finishing in top half of Premier league. Complies with FFP, so who next for a wage reduction?

    I love this FFP malarkey.

    • July 15, 2014  6:19 am by David Walker Reply

      Prima facie FFP is a pain in the backside, misguided and I think, will ultimately come unstuck in the courts, I certainly hope so. In the meantime City are seemingly doing all they can to comply, hence the transfer angst caused by the proposed £49m net spend constraints this summer. The fact that incentive related pay falls outside of the scope of FFP is however to be welcomed. Players such as Samir know that they will be richly rewarded if they achieve as individuals, but more importantly, as part of a successful City collective.

      It fits with the fiscal regime that Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain had in place during their heady days at Barcelona, and it has to be the right way for City nowadays. Reward success...don't just pay out and allow underachievement to be deemed acceptable.

  20. July 18, 2014  5:45 pm by stuart reed Reply

    Well, Seluk & Yaya blinked first. Fine...let's move on and welcome Yaya back with open arms & not hold any grudges. Btw how is Utd's Adidas deal not excessive & breaching FFP? Oh... it's Utd who are part of the cartel (not ONE question in the press regarding it).

    • July 19, 2014  10:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Spot on Stuart with Adidas - nothing even remotely questionable there - yeh right! IT STINKS THE PLACE OUT! As for Yaya, yes, great to have him within the ranks and more of the same from 2013/14 would be sensational. My admiration for him as a player remains as high as ever, but sadly his standing as a man is forever tarnished by his behaviour this summer.

      Pragmatically, most of us forgave Carlos for far worse...we're a fickle bunch and if Yaya plays to his potential then we'll probably let his stupid behaviour fade from memory...until the next time!

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