Since Manchester City announced Pep Guardiola would be replacing Manuel Pellegrini at the helm from next season, the Etihad departure of Yaya Toure has been discussed with almost the same intensity as the speculation about whom the Spaniard will sign this summer.
Today, the resourceful rumourologists who The Sun draft in on Sundays have ingeniously blended both angles into a hybrid story that states how Guardiola wants to bring Borussia Dortmund schemer Ilkay Gundogan in to replace outbound Toure.
Given what’s generally accepted about the Bayern Munich boss’ style of play, it’s easy to see why a clever passer like Gundogan is an attractive proposition for the Man City boss in-waiting, but ousting the Ivorian titan in order to sign him is a foolish move.
Sitting deep in Dortmund’s midfield, the 25-year-old is responsible for furnishing BvB’s attacking players with the ball in dangerous positions as efficiently as possible.
The fundamentals of this role require plenty of passing and Gundogan duly obliges, making 84 per match on average this season.
Of these 87.8 find their mark, but despite this obvious talent, parachuting the Dortmund maestro in at the expense of Toure would weaken the City team.
No outfielder other than Sergio Aguero has scored more Premier League goals than the 32-year-old this season, while in many respects, he has proved just as effective as Gundogan at supplying his colleagues with ammunition.
Toure averages 60.3 passes per top-tier game, but his accuracy rate (87.2) is only a shade worse than his rumoured replacement’s and 1.5 of his attempts to locate a teammate are considered ‘key’ by the number crunchers at WhoScored.com.
Gundogan averages just one key pass per match and for all his alleged brilliance in this department, he has provided just three assists so far; Toure has five.
In addition to all of this, the Germany international has found the net just once.
Based on these stats, signing Gundogan and letting Toure leave will significantly diminish City’s goal threat.