First he was forced to miss out on Manchester City’s opening game of the Premier League season, now Yaya Toure will have to do the same with City’s first game in Europe.
By not including the Ivorian in the squad to face Steaua Bucharest in Romania this evening, is Pep Guardiola telling Yaya his time at City is up?
All we know for sure is that, according to the Mirror, the Spaniard has accused Toure of lacking the intensity he demands at City.
Pep has certainly displayed a ruthless streak since taking over at the Etihad, alongside Yaya, Joe Hart also appears to be a casualty of the new regime, and, just he did against Sunderland, will drop to the bench in favour of Willy Caballero on Tuesday evening.
While Hart might be able to win over his boss once he improves his footwork, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Toure has no real route back into the first team – let’s not forget that he was sold by the same manager when they were both at Barcelona.
Speaking about the midfielder, Pep was forthright with his opinion:
”I have a lot of respect of him, for his career and quality. But for the first days – against Sunderland – we were looking for a more intensive game. That is why he didn’t play, the only reason why.”
Guardiola continued: ”Yaya is a player of us and he is training amazing, but I was not sure if he was going play, and so I prefer it if he stays there training good in Manchester.
”We travelled with two young guys and for the selection I prefer it to be the young guys than Yaya. I prefer it if he stays there training and focuses on the next game.”
The message seems loud and clear. Now in the final year of his £240,000-a-week contract, it seems highly likely that Yaya will remain at the club until he’s a free agent.
As for Hart, what with talk of Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo joining the club, perhaps the current England no.1’s days are also numbered and he might leave before transfer deadline day on August 31. Everton and Sevilla are rumoured to be interested.
When asked about a new goalkeeper, Guardiola was not as open as he was when discussing Toure.
“I think it’s not the moment to talk about players who are not at Manchester City. They are players for another club. I’m not going to talk, one day before one of the most important games of the season, about transfers.”
Unsurprisingly, Hart’s relationship with Guardiola is said to be strained. Perhaps he might stay and fight for his place, but at 29, it seems far more likely he’ll be seeking new pastures shortly.