Toure future in doubt as agent undermines apology to Guardiola
Yaya Touré faces a serious battle to force his way back into Manchester City's first team, despite Pep Guardiola accepting an apology yesterday from the midfielder, an initiative that was later undermined by Touré's controversial agent.
Guardiola had talks with Touré and told the Ivory Coast international he is eligible for selection again after the player sought a peace deal by apologising for remarks made by Dimitri Seluk, his volatile Ukrainian representative.
Touré was told by Guardiola in September that he would not play for City again unless Seluk apologised for claiming that the Catalan had "humiliated" his client by omitting him from the club's 25-man Champions League squad.
Despite the apology, posted on Touré's Twitter and Facebook pages - the wisdom of which was questioned by Seluk in a radio interview - the 33-year-old remains way down the pecking order at City, having played just once this season.
"I spoke with Yaya this morning and of course it is a private conversation so I know what happened, what he said, of course it's so important for Manchester City - that's the most important thing," said Guardiola, whose team face Middlesbrough at the Etihad Stadium today.
"I read what he wrote and that's all. Of course, it's good news for Manchester City but it's most important for Yaya as well.
"Yaya was in all our meetings and training sessions. You knew the situation. Nothing changed," Guardiola said.
Touré's £220,000-a-week City contract expires next summer and, although he won the Champions League under Guardiola when at Barcelona in 2009, there has been a suspicion that his exile now has suited the manager because of doubts about the player's suitability to his game-plan.
A truce seemed unlikely when Seluk said in September that he would apologise to Guardiola only if the manager said sorry to goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was sent on loan in the summer, and former City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Seluk then claimed, in an interview published yesterday, that Touré had asked him this week "to make the peace with Pep", to which he agreed and emphasised the importance of a "new start".
That was followed by Touré's apology "on behalf of myself and those who represent me" in which he added: "Those statements do not represent my views on the club or the people who work there. I have nothing but respect for Manchester City."
But no sooner had that statement been released than Seluk told TalkSport radio: "I'm not apologising. We want peace, but I'm not apologising. Apologise for what?"
Seluk believes Toure still has plenty to offer City after six years at the club but insisted it is now down to Guardiola to decide whether to bring the 33-year-back into his side.
"A lot of supporters want to see Yaya on the field and Yaya wants to help Manchester City get good results," he said.
"A player like Yaya, one of the top players in the world who has a very big salary, normally does not stay out of the team. He must play.
"For Manchester City, the fans and for football, it is important Yaya plays because he is a top player.
"Yaya has won two titles and this team is in his heart. He is a legend in the history of this club."
Despite his refusals to apologise, Seluk indicated that he does still want to make peace with the City manager.
"We want to make peace between Guardiola, Yaya and me for the supporters, the team and for the results," he added.
"We will see about the future, but most important we make steps to each other. Guardiola must now do the next step, because we make a step from our side to make peace.
"Now we say nothing. We've made our steps now and we will see what Guardiola will do."
Meanwhile, Aitor Karanka has called on his Boro players to seize the opportunity to prove they belong in the Premier League.
Karanka insists his side will travel with no fear despite City's stunning midweek demolition of Barcelona, having experienced their own significant boost in confidence levels in recent weeks. (© Daily Telegraph, London)