Friday 24 January 2020

Pellegrini: Yaya happy at City

Yaya Toure caused a stir when expressing his unhappiness this summer
Yaya Toure caused a stir when expressing his unhappiness this summer

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes Yaya Toure is "very happy" at the club and ready for the start of the new season.

City's player of the year in their title-winning 2013-14 campaign has had a difficult summer, during which his relationship with the club appeared strained.

First there were the infamous claims from his agent that he felt unappreciated and disrespected by the club after his birthday was not sufficiently acknowledged during a post-season trip to Abu Dhabi.

In June Toure's younger brother Ibrahim died after a battle with cancer.

In the days that followed Toure claimed he had been denied permission by the club to spend time with Ibrahim as his health deteriorated.

These matters led to considerable speculation that the Ivory Coast international could leave City, with Paris St German heavily linked, but last month he reiterated his commitment to the club.

Pellegrini said: "Really, I spoke with Yaya and he's very happy.

"I don't know what happened in the summer. Some people talked about his position, but really at this moment he doesn't have any problems. It has passed, it doesn't matter at this moment."

It has been suggested that some of the comments from agent Dimitri Seluk may have been in part a tactic to negotiate a new contract.

Yet Toure, 31, is just over a year into a four-year deal worth a reported £45million.

It is understood that no negotiations are currently taking place, even though new long-term deals this week for Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero led to suggestions Toure could be next.

Pellegrini almost gave rise to such speculation himself as he spoke at a press conference to preview Sunday's Barclays Premier League opener at Newcastle.

Asked about the latest batch of deals, he said: "Maybe you will know in the next few days about other players who extend their contracts."

When asked specifically if he was referring to Toure, Pellegrini would not name names.

He said: "We will see in the next days what will happen. I'm not saying (he) probably (will), we will see in the next days."

Recent comments from striker Edin Dzeko, however, have suggested that he may well be the next player to re-sign.

Pellegrini hopes the issue of Toure's future can now be put aside.

Asked if the whole birthday episode was embarrassing for the club, Pellegrini said: "I think that at this moment, it is not important."

On the issue of contracts, Pellegrini was similarly non-committal when asked whether England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has two years remaining on his present deal, was set to agree fresh terms.

Pellegrini also declined the opportunity to state whether Hart or new signing Willy Caballero, who played in the Community Shield last weekend, would start at Newcastle.

He said: "Willy Caballero played in the Community Shield because he worked for around 33 days in pre-season and Joe Hart just seven or eight days.

"For me it is exactly the same as all the other positions of the team.

"It is very important for the team to have two good players in every position and then we see every week which player starts every game. We have so many games we need a strong squad."

PA Media

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