Manchester City: 5 possible Premier League destinations for Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure is keen to remain in the Premier League following his departure from the Premier League champions, but where to next?
Manchester City said goodbye to one of its favourite sons this week. Yaya Toure played his final game for the club in a 3-1 victory over Brighton, bringing an end to an eight-year tenure at the Etihad.
During that time the Ivorian lifted all three of Manchester City’s Premier League titles, as well as an FA Cup and two League Cups. Toure, alongside captain Vincent Kompany, was the driving force in taking City from fifth place, into the Champions League and then winning titles.
Despite leaving the Premier League champions, Toure is determined to stay in the division. Toure, who turns 35 on Sunday, told UK newspapers: “Of course, I want to stay in England. “I have maybe one or two years more to play.”
So, where could the Ivorian go? RealSport looks at five possible destinations for the central midfielder next season.
Yaya Toure has ties with Arsenal having had a trial with the club back in 2003. His older brother Kolo played for the Gunners for seven years, winning a Premier League and two FA Cup titles.
A new dawn approaches at the Emirates, and whoever is appointed will want leadership in the dressing room. It is something that has been missing for Arsene Wenger’s side this season, with the leadership group only consisting of Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech.
The demands of the Europa League are tough and bringing in the experience of Toure would unquestionably aid Arsenal’s cause in all competitions. Plus, moving to Arsenal for the 35-year-old Yaya would not be seen as a step down.
Leicester have had a strange season. In the first knockings of the campaign they flirted with the relegation zone, but the appointment of Claude Puel fired them into European contention. An end-of-season lull has seen the Foxes drop to ninth and raised, perhaps harshly, question marks over their manager.
The 2015-16 Premier League champions have now re-settled after that success and the European voyage last season, and they should target Europa League football next term. Yaya Toure still has the quality to add to Leicester’s squad, and he would certainly help with shirt sales.
Uncertainty still lies around the talented Riyad Mahrez, and if he leaves there could be a match-winning hole in the Leicester lineup. At his age, Toure cannot start every game, but a rotation between himself, Wilfred Ndidi, Adrien Silva and Vicente Iborra would be welcomed by the manager.
Watford as a club are a bit all over the place, relying on fresh managerial appointments to keep them away from trouble. Manager Javi Gracia may leave the club, but either way expect a host of new signings.
The Hornets are at a full quota in central midfield however, with Gracia currently able to choose from Abdoulaye Doucoure, Roberto Pereyra, Didier Ndong, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley, Nathaniel Chalobah and Etienne Capoue. Expect three or more of those names to move on in the summer, with bona fide Premier League quality still lacking.
Would a move to the unsettled Watford appeal to Toure? Probably not, but if he is keen to remain in the Premier League he may not have many better options.
West Ham need to correct their recruitment policy if they are to steer away from the relegation zone. The signings of Jordan Hugill, Havard Nordtveit, Ashley Fletcher, Jose Fonte, Gokhan Tore, Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza in recent seasons have all been questioned but bringing in Yaya Toure would be a much safer bet.
The midfield options of Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang could do with the addition of Toure’s goals, and he would certainly bring some much-needed excitement to the London Stadium. Former Manchester City teammate Pablo Zabaleta is also at the club which could become a factor.
This could hinge on whether David Moyes remains in charge and what style of play they implement, as Ivory Coast international Toure would struggle to play in a midfield two in the current 5-2-3 system given his lacklustre nature.
Perhaps the most likely move on this list is to the promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Championship champions aren’t shy to spend money, but they are still in desperate need of Premier League experience. John Ruddy is the only man to have consistently played in the top-flight in their squad, an area where Toure can help.
Midfielders Ruben Neves, Romain Saiss and Alfred N’Diaye (if he signs permanently) would be tough to displace, but the ageing Toure cannot play every game, and would be a value rotation option.
The fact Wolves are on the up is a massive selling point for Toure, and the midlands club have the capacity to finish in the top half next season. After so much success in his career, Yaya will not settle for a relegation battle, especially if he won’t be playing every week.
Where do you think Yaya Toure will go in the summer? Let us know in the comments section below.