So here we are: the deadline day Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk gave for Manchester City to offer him a new contract.
Perhaps things are happening behind the scenes. Or perhaps, more likely, City are calling Toure’s bluff. Either way, it seems Seluk is the latest in an increasingly long line of agents making headline statements to prompt a pay-rise or a farewell.
The sentence that stood out from Seluk’s press release was, “This is not about money.” When an agent says something like that it is impossible not to roll your eyes and suppress a laugh; because as far as agents are concerned, it is all about money.
Those “three or four days” quoted for Toure to sign a new City contract are now up. Should he remain, it will be a back-down easily forgotten. He is far too good a player for fans to hold a grudge. But should his agent’s comments that, “He wants to leave for many reasons,” prove true, Roberto Mancini’s team will have a hole possibly too big to fill with a single replacement.
Of course Saturday is not quite over yet. And maybe tomorrow we will hear that the Ivory Coast midfielder has signed a new contract and his agent, not in it for the money, has secured a hefty bonus for those sound-bites and ultimatums.
One of the last high-profile Premier League players who spoke so openly of leaving was Wayne Rooney, and we all know what happened next. But Toure’s situation seems different, his departure seems only a matter of time. Which would be a huge shame for a team that have turned him into the star of whom there were only flickers during his time at Barcelona.
From being a world-class defensive midfielder, he is now a world-class midfielder, attacking, defending, the whole lot.
How City react to the agent-imposed deadline will tell us how much they want to keep him. Or if in fact they believe they hold all the cards.
For now, their silence says everything.
Do you think Toure will remain at Manchester City? And if not, who can you see replacing him?