Speculation surrounding Yaya Toure’s discontent at Manchester City has rumbled on for several months, despite frequent protestations from club officials that the Ivory Coast colossus is happy at the Etihad Stadium.
Just this week boss Manuel Pellegrini felt the need to refute claims that his midfield talisman was looking to leave, but it’s taken just a few days for the Sunday Mirror to supply the masses with a contrary view.
The source claims that Toure is keen to link up with his former manager Roberto Mancini, the man who converted him from anchorman to attacking-midfield world-beater, at Inter Milan.
Such is the 31-year-old’s desperation to secure the San Siro switch, say the Mirror, that he is willing to take a 50 per cent pay cut and attempt to live off £90,000-a-week to get his move.
A commonly used cliché in long-standing transfer ordeals dictates ‘there is no smoke without fire’ and the regularity with which Toure is linked with a move away from the 9/2 second favourites for the Premier League title suggests this season could well be his last in Manchester.
On the surface, this sounds like bad news, but the Ivorian’s departure could elongate the stay of a potential City superstar who has endured a frustrating spell so far with the reigning kings of England.
Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic has suffered foul fortune with regards to injuries since his £22m arrival from Fiorentina, but, assuming he can avoid further setbacks, he could be the ideal candidate to replace his vice-captain.
Such an approach would benefit Man City, for whom financial fair play is a cause of many sleepless nights, as they wouldn’t have to source a mega-millions replacement, while a slight position shift would also be beneficial to the player.
Following Wilfried Bony’s arrival, it has been widely reported that the Citizens will sell one of Jovetic or Edin Dzeko to balance the books, but if Toure goes and the former realigns himself as a number ten, both peripheral frontmen could stay.
The 25-year-old operates best as a centre-forward, though he has been most productive in terms of goals scored when deployed a little deeper.
According to the stats boffins at WhoScored.com, three of his ten starts this term in either the Premier League or Champions League was in an attacking-midfield capacity.
From this position he has scored 60 per cent of his five goals so far in these competitions, which suggest he’s more than capable of matching Toure – who is yet to bag from this berth – with regards to contributions in the final third.