Manchester City totem Yaya Toure is likely to leave the club at the end of the 2014/15 season, according to his agent Dimitri Seluk.
“It’s 90% certain he’ll leave Manchester City this summer. Nothing has been decided – we are waiting until the end of the season,” the intermediary told Sky Sports.
The bwin odds compilers go just 1/2 about him remaining at City come the close of the summer transfer window.
Toure’s importance to Manuel Pellegrini’s side was seemingly illustrated when his departure for the Africa Cup of Nations in January coincided with a sequence of one win in six games for the Sky Blues.
As much seemed certain when his return to the starting XI coincided with a merciless 5-0 hammering of their Capital One Cup conquerors Newcastle.
Yet that walkover was one of a moderate four wins in nine outings with the Ivorian in the initial lineup since his return from Equatorial Guinea
City have now lost a greater percentage of games he has started this term (32) than those he hasn’t (21), suggesting his hefty influence is not always completely beneficial for the side.
The truth is City are suffering from precisely the same issues with Toure as Liverpool have with Steven Gerrard in the later years of his career.
Both are inspirational leaders with the ball at their feet, known for taking matters into their own hands when matches need winning then delivering the goods.
Yet, like the former England skipper, Toure is something of a loose cannon, whose limited willingness to take tactical and positional responsibility becomes more exposed the less diligent and astute his midfield partners are.
When City took the title in 2011/12 Gareth Barry and/or Nigel de Jong provided the the responsible counterpoint to the rampaging Ivorian, just as Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano had underpinned the best seasons of Gerrard’s career.
As both players’ powers begin to wane, the efforts in offsetting their capricious ways within a coherent team become harder to justify and more counter productive.
Letting go of Yaya, just as Liverpool have let go of their skipper, will be a painful but ultimately rewarding experience that allows both clubs to recalibrate their midfields along more efficient lines.