Yaya Toure’s ‘birthday snub’ has all the hallmarks of contract negotiations
The last time football agent Dimitri Seluk voiced his client’s displeasure, Yaya Toure was rewarded with a handsome four-year contract.
Today’s bizarre statement, suggesting that the Ivory Coast international is considering leaving because of a birthday snub, bears a striking resemblance to events last April.
We cannot be sure of just how much importance Toure places on his birthday. This day last week the powerhouse midfielder turned 31 and if Seluk is to be believed, the club’s failure to acknowledge the landmark has not gone down well with his client.
“Yaya is so upset he's thinking of leaving City,” Seluk is quoted as saying today.
“What happened at his birthday meant the club don't care about him. Forgot? About Yaya?”
“When you win the title on May 11, a day later you go to Abu Dhabi and on May 13 you have a big party to celebrate the title and nobody comes to Yaya to say, 'Happy birthday', what more do you want?,” he fumed.
What Seluk wants one imagines is to sit around the table with the City board to discuss new terms.
Toure is fresh from completing the season of his life. The barnstorming midfielder hit 20 goals in the title winning campaign and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. Some of his goals and performances were nothing short of outstanding.
Now a year past the 30 mark, his market value is unlikley to soar any higher and an impressive World Cup showing will only add to what Seluk will undoubtedly argue as player at the peak of his powers.
Perhaps the most bizarre element of all this, if that is possible, is that Toure penned a new four year deal just 13 months ago.
Murmurings of a departure, plus the influence of sporting director Txiki Begiristain, resulted in a new deal to run until 2017.
According to sources close to the club, the deal was a reduced basic wage from the £200,000 a week from his first contract, but would rise to £240,000 owing to performance-related incentives built around the club’s success on the pitch.
Needless to say, many of these incentives were met.
Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo are examples of players in the last 12 months who have either suggested they would leave their respective clubs, or in Ronaldo’s case, put forward the idea that the player simply wasn’t happy. The trio showed little signs of unhappiness on the pitch once the ink was dry on the new deals and all appear content in Liverpool, Manchester and Madrid. For now at least.
It remains to be seen if a belated birthday card will do the trick for the City star.