In recent years, Ivorian Yaya Toure has proven himself to be a fickle player. At times he’s been indomitable, a force and arguably the best player in Premier League. Other times, especially the closer to the present, he’s lackadaisical and uninspired. I call this conundrum, this philosophical problem, if you will, “the riddle of Yaya Toure.”
With Toure’s omission from the UEFA Champions League squad for the group stage, I think we have a definitive answer to this paradox. Instead of worrying about whether the good or bad Yaya is the real Yaya, rather, the correct position is to just move on from Toure.
With Pep Guardiola, that’s turned out, for the most part, to be easy. Samir Nasri’s, Eliaquim Mangala’s and Wilfried Bony’s departures on loans were welcome developments. Toure’s high wages and his desire to see out the last year of his contract for money reasons prevented any sort of move from happening. So, the only thing to do is not to select the 33-year-old Toure, as he apparently doesn’t impress Guardiola, despite playing pivotal roles in City’s achievement of trophies since coming to the club in 2010.
According to the BBC, he’s the odd man out as the18th foreign player older than 21. UEFA only allows 17 for selection in this stage of the competition. He is named to the Premier League roster that was submitted after the end of the transfer widow.
Does that mean Toure will see no time on the pitch? Not necessarily. Injuries could decimate City’s midfield, forcing Guardiola to turn deep into his bench. Likewise, after the group stage Toure could then also legally be named to the team for those fixtures, if City advances and provided there’s room. That’s fine. But until such a set of circumstances occurs, and until the aging Toure earns Guardiola’s trust, it’s probably best for the big Ivorian to be out of the first team picture until he wants to be.
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