City star talks Arsenal trial: How good would Gunners be if he stayed?

Yaya Touré interview

Manchester City hero Yaya Toure reminisced over a conversation with Arsene Wenger.

Over ten years ago, when Yaya Toure was a teenager representing his first professional club - Beveren - in East Flanders, Belgium, he was invited to attend a trial at Arsenal under the watch of Arsene Wenger; a club and manager who, at the time, were at the peak of their powers having just won a domestic double in 2002.

The Gunners, while impressed with the ability of Toure (he was - and still is - physically impressive whilst retaining good close control, but were unsure about his best position, playing him behind the spear-heading striker), failed to secure the Ivorian a work permit yet the player went on to flourish, representing Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, AS Monaco, Barcelona and, finally, Manchester City.

Even though Arsenal were more inclined to field him in a supporting striker role, Toure favoured a midfield role so he could emulate his role model - Patrick Vieira.

Recalling a conversation he had with Wenger over the trial and his hero Vieira, Toure told City Today: "When I was in Belgium I went to Arsenal for a couple of months for training and I remember Arsene told me, which position do you want, I said midfielder, he asked why as he saw me as a striker but I said midfield, I can be better than Patrick. He said 'no, no, that's impossible!'"

Had Arsenal managed to secure Yaya at some point in his illustrious career, how much better - if at all - would Wenger's first-team have been? He is, along with Aaron Ramsey, the Premier League's best in his position - the rampaging, goal-scoring box-to-box midfielder, yet Yaya has long represented a trait that the Gunners have lacked in prior years; physicality, strength and an imposing figure in the heart of the park.

Toure has been a mainstay in City's midfield, featuring in 2,125 minutes of Premier League football and has returned incredible statistics including a 90% passing accuracy, a 67% tackling success rate whilst also supplying 32 clear-cut chances, five assists and 17 goals in the division.

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