Toure's birthday gamble
Midifield automaton's angling for sweeter deal or move back to Barcelona
Confusion reigns in the Yaya Toure saga, and incredibly, it all revolves around the Manchester City and Ivory Coast star's 31st birthday.
According to his agent, Dimitry Seluk, Toure feels unloved by the club he helped propel to the English Premier League title in a compelling campaign.
Toure is thinking of leaving Manchester City because they didn't go the extra mile to celebrate his birthday last week, and quite bizarrely, it could spark a number of Europe's top clubs into action.
There was a video of the midfield strongman being presented with a birthday cake, along with a congratulatory tweet by City.
Seluk said yes, City should have done more for one of their best players. After all, Anzhi Makhachkala gave Roberto Carlos a Bugatti for his 38th birthday.
"It's not a question of money," Seluk insisted, as he tried to convince the world of how sensitive a man Toure is.
I'm afraid when agents say money isn't the issue, very often it is.
Brinkmanship in football is nothing new. Toure will have no problems finding a new club, if he wants to.
Liverpool's Luis Suarez and City's Ivorian powerhouse were the most influential players in England last season.
The World Cup next month will once more showcase his unique talent.
Rarely do players combine power and grace as effortlessly as the box-to-box midfielder. Toure scores goals and creates them, as his 20 strikes and nine assists in the recent campaign testify.
That he is a fine specimen on the pitch, there is no doubt. What baffles is the pettiness that set off this farce.
I would think the farcical drama will hardly be ideal for the Ivory Coast's World Cup preparations.
And the controversy will drag on until after the World Cup, because that's when he would explain everything.
Toure's decision to back up what his agent said on Twitter, after initially urging followers not to believe anything that he didn't say himself, added to the intrigue.
City are reportedly attempting to find out if he had tweeted the messages himself, or if his advisers posted the updates on his behalf.
There is also the Barcelona link to consider.
City prised him away from the Spanish giants for £24 million ($50.8m) in July 2010, and Toure has already hinted he would like to end his career at the Nou Camp.
At 31, he doesn't have plenty of years left in his career. While still at the peak of his powers, now seems like a good time to make a final move.
Or, could Toure simply be angling for more money? Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo have done it before, and it paid off handsomely for them.
Just over a year ago, Seluk successfully negotiated a new four-year contract for his man. It turned Toure into one of the highest-paid footballers in the world, commanding a weekly wage of £240,000 ($508,000).
That princely sum could just be about to go up, and that's a much better birthday gift than a Bugatti.
WHAT TOURE SAYS ON TWITTER...
Thanks for all the birthday messages today. Card from City just arrived... Must have got lost in the post. Haha
Jokes aside. Please do not take words that do not come out of MY mouth seriously. Judge my commitment to @MCFC by my performances. (later deleted)
My agent was trying to make a point here on my behalf, joke aside. It seems important for me to make a statement... i am going to do so. (later deleted)
Everything dimitry (Seluk) said is true. He speaks for me . I will give an interview after world cup to explain.
WHAT THEY SAY...
I’ll be amazed if he’s not a Man City player at the start of next season. These things are normally an agent angling for a new contract and maybe he looks at other players — across the road Wayne Rooney’s getting £300,000 a week, so they say — and may think ‘well, that’s what I should be on’.
- Jamie Redknapp
It’s that bizarre I find it difficult to believe it’s actually true... But I would have thought he would be at Man City next season. If I was the Man City hierarchy, I’d insist that he was. If he’s not that happy then I don’t think it’s a problem for them to put him in the reserves or with the kids...
- Matt Le Tissier
Yaya: the future is unknown
Yaya Toure has admitted he does not know where his future lies after his agent said he could leave Manchester City.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that Toure was far from happy about his treatment from the club's hierarchy over his 31st birthday last week.
His agent Dimitry Seluk told Sky Sports News that the Ivory Coast international had still to receive an apology or explanation from the club, and that this has led to question marks over his future.
"He is upset he wasn't congratulated," said Seluk. "If you're a famous journalist and your boss forgets to congratulate, you would be a little upset.
"He does a lot for Man City. It's very strange that staff don't shake hands and say congratulations on your birthday. It's not normal. Yaya is upset."
Now Toure has admitted that everything Seluk said is true, and that he does not know what the future holds, although he does concede that he would love to end his career at his former club Barcelona.
"I have said that in front of the camera before and I have said that to newspapers about ending my career there (Barcelona), but we don't know because football is moving fast and you never know about tomorrow," Toure told beIN SPORTS.
"Because of the brilliant season Man City have had, everybody is talking about me and everything is open and we don't know tomorrow, but my focus is on the World Cup and at the end of the World Cup we will see what happens.
"I think my agent, Dimitry, is always on the phone and he knows what he has to do because I trust him a lot. He knows what he has to do because we were always open about everything."
Toure, who signed a new four-year deal last April, says he will speak again about his future after the World Cup is over. - PA Sport.