I’M thinking of writing to all my former clubs to ask for compensation – an apology at the very least – for forgetting to send me a birthday card while I was in their employ! As I understand it – and I don’t understand it, not a bit – this is the essence of £250,000-a-week Yaya Toure’s grievance with Manchester City. Toure, the towering midfielder who drove City to their second Premier League title in three years, is suddenly hinting he may not be at The Etihad next season…because the owners did not personally give him their birthday best wishes last week.
Now, I am a big Toure fan. He was my player of the season, an awesome performer who is world class in several positions and a man who I simply cannot fault as a footballer. But I’m disappointed and perplexed by these expressions of unrest. City have made Toure one of the best-paid players in the world and he is feted by the fans and loved by his team-mates. He is at the club which, more than any other in England, has the potential to conquer Europe in the coming years. Yet, suddenly, he hints he may not be there next season.
It all sounds a bit fishy to me. It seems his agent was first to raise the subject of the alleged birthday snub (apparently, a cake presented on the flight to Abu Dhabi following City’s title triumph was not sufficient recognition of his client’s 31st milestone). Toure initially distanced himself from his agent’s remarks, then corroborated them. All very confusing. The carryings-on of modern top class players never fail to amaze me, but I do understand that agents only make money when players move clubs. For the sake of City’s superb fans, I hope that is not the case here. All I can say is: Watch this space.