After the first week of the Barclays Premier League, Coach Pep Guardiola begins his campaign as the manager of Manchester City with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland. However, Coach Guardiola’s first lineup as a premier league manager missed one of Manchester City’s most coveted players over the last five years; Yaya Toure.
It is the first game of the season where many other players on other top English teams such as Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Dimitri Payet were rested or limited in minutes to recover from the 2016 European Championships.
In addition, Romelu Lukaku was not considered match fit, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte chose to leave Cesc Fabregas out of the lineup, and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp rested James Milner and Daniel Sturridge to get more time to recover from preseason injuries.
Nonetheless, the Pep Guardiola-Yaya Toure debacle in Barcelona six years cannot be put aside when after the 2010 season, Toure asked to be transferred after a constant feud with Guardiola over playing time and mistreatment on and off the field.
“He pretty much ignored me until City’s offer came in. That’s why I eventually opted to leave. I didn’t speak to Guardiola for a year,” Toure told ONA FM.
This is not even the first time a highly respected player had these extreme issues with Guardiola.
In Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s book, “I am Zlatan,” he explains extensively how Guardiola ignored Thierry Henry and himself on the bench and refused to talk to him. He described how Henry and himself would joke to each other if Guardiola spoke to him today at all.
“‘I felt like s*** when I sat in the locker room and Guardiola glared at me as if I was a disturbance, an alien. It was mental,’ said Ibrahimovic, ‘When you are the invisible man to the head coach, the only option is to head for the exit.'”
Lionel Messi began to take Ibrahimovic’s spot rather than playing out wide similar to Sergio Busquets becoming the new center defensive midfielder sending Yaya Toure to the bench.
Ironically, F.C. Barcelona lost in the Champions League Semifinal to Inter Milan, where Barcelona spent 59 million Euros on Samuel Eto’o to make Ibrahimovic a rotational player.
Yaya Toure left the same year as Ibrahimovic and was sold for 24 million Euros to Manchester City F.C. where he won two Premier League titles with Manuel Pellegrini.
Nonetheless, Guardiola plans to keep Yaya Toure off of the first leg of Champions League Qualifiers.
It is possible for Toure’s absence from the lineup due to Guardiola’s tactics used with his midfielders and defenders by pushing the center backs farther out wide behind the attacking midfielders with the outside backs pinching in to the middle and center defensive midfielder playing as a sweeper role. The tactic limits Toure’s ability to control the midfield and orchestrate passes all over the field, and Toure has always had troubles defensively anyway.
In addition, Yaya Toure has had several incidents where his effort has been put into question on both sides of the ball. It could have been a problem at Barcelona six years ago or Toure’s emotional personality.
Manchester City can be successful without Toure being one of the deepest teams in the world at every position. However, Yaya Toure is not like David Silva, Nasri, Fernandinho, or Kevin De Bruyne. Toure prefers the middle of the pitch with the ability to control the tempo and possession, and he does not have the experience as Silva, Nasri and De Bruyne playing on the wing.
Even though Toure might not be wanted by Guardiola, there are plenty top teams that could afford his price and be willing to pay it.
There is no doubt Yaya Toure is talented and still has left to bring to the game at age 33. In fact, his age and lack of use would lower his value and be sold at a much cheaper price that would not cut too much into budget similar to Madrid or Juventus.
Even if a team would be willing to take his price, the real mystery is whether they would give him a first team role similar to Manchester City the last couple of years.
Yaya Toure will definitely play this season but as a rotational player rather than a first team player. This situation will come down to Yaya Toure again if he is willing to take a smaller role or try to become a starter somewhere else.
Either way, these next few months will definitely be tough for Yaya Toure trying to earn the faith from Guardiola and regain his first team spot or choose to leave the club.
“If he had talked to me, I would have stayed at Barcelona. I did not want to go and wanted to end my career at Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me.”