Yaya Toure has been a rock in the heart of Man City’s midfield since signing for them over 4 years ago. Last season he was a pivotal figure in their winning the league, scoring a record 20 goals from midfield, becoming the second midfielder after Frank Lampard to attain such heights. His form last season was phenomenal as alongside him, his teammates almost broke the record of most goals scored in a season, falling short by a goal. He became a cult figure and songs were sung about him. However events in the summer took a different turn as his agent accused the club hierarchy of not acknowledging his birthday and also the loss of his brother. He derided the club for not granting him time to spend with his brother and fans were left to wonder if they were going to say goodbye to their world class midfielder.
However, before the season started, he issued a statement and put the minds of fans at ease. But, his performance on pitch has been terrible so to speak. Aside his goal against Villa yesterday, which is his first this season, Toure has been underperforming and has been receiving lots of criticism from fans and pundit alike. There is a belief that he is on the decline as a professional player. Age indeed might just be catching up with him. There are concerns that last season saw him at his very best, a form that cannot be replicated again. We will be looking at five possible replacements for him.
- Paul Pogba: The 23 year old Frenchman has been a revelation since departing Man Utd on a Bosman and signing for Juventus. He helped in Juventus winning two titles and it is thought his buyout clause might be somewhere in the region of €60 million, though it was reported some days back that he might be available for €25 million. Should City snap him up, then they should dominate the premier league for some time to come. Not only is he young, but he is creative and has an eye for goal. It would probably be a case of city signing a younger Toure to replace the ageing Toure.
- Javi Martinez: The Spanish midfielder who plays for Bayern was a key element for Bayern under Heyneckes when they won the treble 2 seasons ago after his arrival from Athletic Bilbao. He shored up their midfield and gave a certain steel to the team. A major factor that could decide his fate though is his recent ACL tear injury which ruled him out for 5 to 6 months. Signing such a player, though talented might see him turning out to be another Hargreaves experiment gone bad which City can ill afford, but there is no doubt about his talent.
- Arturo Vidal: The Chilean is another big name at Juventus. Alongside Pogba, they have been a midfield pairing that is the dream of any top side. Vidal thrives most as a box to box midfielder and considering his age, he is certainly another likely replacement for Toure at City. Possessing stamina, technique, good distribution, technique and an eye for goal, he will fit in seamlessly into the City squad. However, Man Utd are reported interested in him and we expect a bidding war between these two bitter rivals.
- Sami Khedira: Also another player that City could sign to replace, the Real Madrid midfielder has found himself on the fringes of the first team, and is definitely keen to leave. He is another player who could replace Yaya Toure at City, but Arsenal are reported interested in him.
- Ross Barkley: The Englishman was a revelation for Everton last season, and though injured is a profoundly gifted player. City have been quoted €50 million, as usual English players are overpriced, but I believe he is one for the future. Surely, he will eclipse the achievement of both Gerard and Lampard from the little we have seen from him, this is why City are reported keen in him.
So, there you have it, 5 likely replacements for Yaya Toure. Tell us what you think!