When transfer rumours surround Yaya Toure, the clubs mentioned in the same breath tend to be the giants of Europe; PSG, Real Madrid, Chelsea were all name-dropped during last season’s ‘Birthday Cake-Gate’. Unlike last time, however, the club linked with the talismanic Ivorian are none other than New York City FC…and this rumour came straight from the subject’s mouth, not the tabloids (a rare sight in today’s transfer rumour spinning world of journalism).
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Yaya outlined his plans to remain part of Manchester City’s squad for years to come, whilst being careful not to rule out a particular move elsewhere:
“Manchester City is the right club for me to go out on top [with], but if I’m asked to come to New York City to continue to help City grow, I would do that for them.”
Before NYCFC fans are sent into a frenzy, the question must be posed: could Toure move to New York at some point in the future?
Not for a couple of seasons at least. Although Toure seemed a bit sluggish and off the pace last season, moments of pure brilliance, as well as an already-promising preseason, have effectively cemented his place in the Manchester City side for a good while. While City fans saw little of the powerful attacking bursts that characterized their title winning 2013/2014 season, a drop deeper into the Etihad midfield provided the runners up with the experience and ability of one of the world’s best, an asset that would not be easily sent halfway across the world.
Even when it seemed that Toure’s career at City was unravelling, he continued to indicate his aspiration to continue at Manchester City post-retirement, with reports even suggesting that he requested a backroom job offer as part of any new contract with the club. With Toure being both a player with an enviable playing career and an eye for the bigger issues facing the club and football in general (Toure has made many public comments regarding race and discrimination in football), he’s certainly not going to be a player that will drop off the face of the Earth once he hangs up his boots.
So, should a longer term City job be his goal, then, as he said, a move to New York to help them grow would go a long way to convince the higher-ups to trust in the Ivory Coast captain.
Also, given the exponential growth of MLS, particularly the meteoric rise of the last few years, it may come as not-so-huge-a-surprise in a few years should Toure – or Man City – decide that he should move to NYCFC. In the eight years since David Beckham joined MLS, the league has grown from a league associated with one player to one that boasts many of world football’s biggest names. Kaka, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard all prove just how relevant the league has gotten.
Therefore, seeing Toure move to New York may not be the biggest surprise. Of course, it seems Toure is open to the idea. He said in his interview with Sports Illustrated that loyalty is what motivates him. What a way to repay the faith of Manchester City than to move to their sister club and gain the respect of NYCFC fans and the Manchester City execs alike.