Yaya Toure’s time at Manchester City has been a roller coaster. After moving from Barcelona he was one of the key players in transforming Manchester City from a club with great potential to a global power. Regardless of how the ending shakes out, he has been a success. Two league titles, three Cup victories, and 59 goals.
However, no one will have forgotten the mishandled birthday issue a few seasons ago. As if it was something required by FA regulations, Yaya (and his agent) threw a fit when the club did not officially acknowledge his birthday on social media. In case you missed it the first time or had forgotten about it, let that sink in. A 30 something year old professional footballer, who has won league titles in England and Spain and played in the World Cup, upset about a social media snub.
While yes, the money these days is outlandish and the treatment of players is a bit over the top. Can you imagine Yaya bringing up this complaint 20 or 30 years ago? Yes, obviously there was no social media, but would Michel Platini have started a war of words in the media if his club hadn’t taken out an ad in the local paper? Yaya and his agent, Dimitri Seluk, doubled down this season by insulting Pep Guardiola and landing Yaya’s City future on the reserve squad.
Pep has demanded an apology before Yaya can return. It isn’t likely coming, nor is his return for Manchester City. Thus a sad end, in a predictable way, for a great player for the club over the past six years. With Yaya set to leave, the MLS is the perfect place to take the last phase of his career.
The US doesn’t know or care much about Seluk, but Yaya will sell tickets, jerseys and continue to grow the interest of the game in America. Here are Toure’s top three most likely MLS destinations:
1 – New York City FC
This almost makes too much sense. He has given a lot to the club, so why not keep him around in a way? Sending him to Manchester City’s MLS franchise helps NYCFC, their manager and keeps Yaya a part of the City family. NYC will likely lose either Pirlo or Lampard (or both) after the 2016 season, so he would slide into his natural position perfectly. Additionally, manager Patrick Vieira would get the chance to manage yet another big personality, on his eventual road back to the EPL.
2 – Atlanta United
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 30, 2016
Owner Arthur Blank wants to make a big splash at the kick-off of his new MLS franchise. They are building a new dome for the club to share with his NFL team, have signed former EPL-striker Kenwyne Jones, and just announced former Argentina and Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino as the head coach. The club has already sold over 29,000 season tickets for the first year, so they will have cash to throw at more players. Yaya not only brings attention to the club, but he can also help stabilize what usually proves to be a rough first year for expansion clubs. Orlando had Kaka from the start and still failed to make the playoffs, but they weren’t a disaster either. Opposed to New York or LA, Yaya would be the star of the team in Atlanta, and we all know how much he loves attention.
3 – LA Galaxy
Nigel De Jong was in LA for about 12 minutes. Steven Gerrard still makes it seem like he will retire after this season and return to Liverpool. Landon Donovan isn’t coming back next year (is he?). That leaves LA not only with an open place in the middle of the park, but also money to sign another designated player. Yaya has a big profile which fits nicely in Los Angeles’ culture, and coach Bruce Arena has shown he can manage just about everyone they bring through the doors at the Stub Hub Center. Toure sending passes into Robbie Keane could see a 6th title for the blue and gold.
He can’t stay in Manchester. Italy is too boring of a choice. And China is a massive drop off in quality, even for someone who doesn’t like to run. Yaya Toure to MLS – he arrives by the summer.