Tuesday 20 March 2018

Toure could look to France after City birthday row

Manchester City have insisted they have no plans to sell Yaya Toure despite the row over his recent birthday celebrations. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Manchester City have insisted they have no plans to sell Yaya Toure despite the row over his recent birthday celebrations. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mark Ogden and Ben Rumsby

Yaya Toure could be forced to seek a move to France in order to secure a transfer away from Manchester City, with Barcelona ruling out the prospect of re-signing the midfielder.

With the 31-year-old authorising his representative, the Russian agent Dmitry Seluk, to go public with his unhappiness at the Etihad Stadium following the club's perceived failure to mark his recent birthday with sufficient fuss, Toure has made it clear that his discontent at City could see him leave this summer.

Despite the claims of Seluk and Toure, who supported his agent's comments about his unhappiness via his Twitter account, senior figures at City insist that the club will not consider selling the Ivory Coast international.

It has also been stressed that there are no plans to renegotiate Toure's £220,000-a-week four-year contract, signed in April 2013, in order to resolve the current stand-off.

But with Seluk insisting earlier this week that Toure would happily leave City to return to Barcelona, whom he left for the Etihad in a £24m transfer in July 2010, the prospect of such a move appears remote with the Spanish club focused on reducing their wage bill and transfer outlay following last year's £57.1m purchase of Neymar and the £16.3m-a-year contract handed to Lionel Messi last week.

Barcelona, who unveiled new coach Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp yesterday, are understood to be prepared to reshape their squad this summer, with the likes of Javier Mascherano, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Song all expected to be considered for sale.

And with Toure having just 'celebrated' his 31st birthday, there is little appetite within the Nou Camp to pursue a player on high wages who would cost at least £30m following his impressive season at City.

With Real Madrid focused on signing a world-class striker, Toure's best hope of a transfer is likely to rest with the wealthy French duo of Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.

Meanwhile, a new row was brewing last night over City's Financial Fair Play punishment and the cut in their Champions League squad.

Almost a week after it appeared City had finally accepted what could prove a world-record £50m fine for breaching FFP rules, crucial details of their settlement were shown to be more unclear than first thought.

City were hit with a reduction in their European squad from 25 to 21 players last Friday, with Uefa sources insisting it must still contain eight homegrown players, four of whom needed to be club-trained.

However, City are understood to be planning for next season on the basis they will only need five homegrown players in total, something that would make a dramatic difference to their ability to field their star names in the Champions League.

European football's governing body is now under pressure to clarify its position, something which could sparked a resumption of hostilities with the City hierarchy and even lead to a row with other clubs. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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