Two weeks ago, I wrote a story entitled: “It’s Saturday…so I guess that means Yaya Toure is leaving Manchester City”.
The Saturday in question was the deadline imposed by Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk for his client to be offered, and accept, a new deal at the Etihad.
From that day onwards, according to Seluk, his client would begin negotiations with other clubs. He also said it had nothing to do with money.
That Saturday came and went, as did a further 12 days, but it has now been announced that the Ivory Coast midfielder has signed a new four-year deal with Roberto Mancini’s side.
“This is where I want to be,” he told the club’s website following the announcement, although his silence had been deafening up to then; his agent doing all the talking (and suggesting) for him.
Of course it happens all the time, perhaps most notably in the case of Wayne Rooney, who went further than Toure in declaring his intention to leave Old Trafford – before a chat with his manager and a swift pay-rise put a full-stop on a story that ended before it began.
It is an agent’s job to do the best for his client…and themselves. And in the case of Toure and Seluk, you sense it has been a job well done.
Toure was too good a player to lose. Without him, City would be losing not only their fulcrum, but any chance they had of regaining the title he played such a huge part in securing last season.
Should they wish to break into Europe’s elite by enjoying success in the Champions League, again the 29-year-old is crucial.
His long-term commitment, however cannily-engineered, is also a statement to future signings. It says not only that big players join City, but that they remain there, too.
So two weeks after an agent’s sound-bite, a player gets what he wants.
Perhaps he would have signed regardless. But it seems likely that those headlines added a penny or two to the deal.
How crucial is Toure to City's long-term success? And do you think he ever had any intention of leaving the club?
image: © marc_tacoma