He has been described as one of the best midfielders to grace the Premier League but his time in the Premier League is coming to an end. Yaya Toure is set to leave Manchester City at the end of the season after eight seasons with the Premier League champions. The big question is where this legend will move next?
Toure set the Premier League alight and shocked many when he made the switch from Barcelona in 2010. Eyebrows were raised about City’s ambition as he struggled to get into the Barcelona side. But people who questioned the move were quickly fawning over the Ivorian as his performances brought rightful admiration.
In his prime, Toure was unplayable, a box-to-box midfielder who was just as comfortable of slotting one in the back of the net from the edge of the box as he was dispossessing his opponent with real enthusiasm but at the same time making it seem so effortless. He was the heartbeat of The Citizens for several seasons and was a key component in everything that was scary about the attacking presence of City during their title-winning seasons.
His time at Manchester City has brought him three Premier League titles, three League Cups, one F.A Cup and one Community Shield. On an individual level, he has picked up the Manchester City player of the year award, a place in the PFA team of the year twice and 86 goals to his name.
At the age of 34, he has had to make way for the more youthful Kevin De Bruyne, but he still had plenty to offer especially in the League Cup run when they reached the final and beat Arsenal 3-0. It was a classic twilight move for a player who is about to leave the club. So where does the former African Player of the Year go?
There were rumours of him moving to America, and with City being “feeder” team of New York City this could be a smooth transition to the MLS. A move to China was also on the cards where he could make plenty of money to see him off into his retirement. However, speaking to the BBC Toure wants to stay in England.
The former Monaco man stated that he still wants the challenge and believes he can still compete at the top level for another two years. This comes as a surprise as he could take a bigger pay cheque elsewhere and play at a lower standard of football but that would question the true professionalism of the man that has been shown throughout his career (apart from the whole birthday cake incident).
The news he wants to stay in England has alerted the new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City as they look to bolster their squad for the Premier League season. However, Burnley and Everton look to be favourites as they are both still challenging at the other end of the league and they are both North West sides; close to his home in Manchester where his family is settled. With Burnley in Europe next season they would want to sign someone of Toure’s ilk and have his European experience to help them progress in the competition.
The signing of Toure for any English side would be a real coup as they would be gaining a player with superb power, extreme vision and the amazing ability to drag his team through a game by the scruff of its neck. Toure is one of the best players ever to grace the Premier League, and it would be a real shame to see a player of his quality slowly decline at another club in front of our eyes. However, I cannot foresee this happening to a player of his quality as he turns the page into a new chapter in his career.