West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini has told the Daily Mail that he rejected the chance to reunite with midfielder Yaya Toure on a free transfer this summer.
The Hammers brought in a host of signings this summer, as new boss Pellegrini was backed with a raft of additions to try and hit back after a disappointing season.
One area Hammers fans wanted to see major additions was in midfield, especially with Cheikhou Kouyate sold on to London rivals Crystal Palace.
Pellegrini did bring in Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez, but it's fair to say that the Hammers midfield still isn't quite up to scratch, with Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice the other options.
There was one other name strongly linked with West Ham, as free agent Yaya Toure appeared to be a sensible target given that he worked with Pellegrini for three years at Manchester City.
Toure, 35, was released by City at the end of last season after 316 appearances for the club, and now looks set for a move back to former Olympiakos in the next 24 hours.
Toure's agent Dimitry Seluk took to Twitter earlier this week to suggest that Toure definitely wasn't heading to West Ham as he is a champion, hinting that the Hammers simply weren't good enough for his client.
Pellegrini has now told the Daily Mail that he did speak to Toure about a move, but he and West Ham ended up rejecting the possibility of a deal in order to spend money elsewhere – even if Pellegrini still rates the Ivorian highly.
“The words of the agent of Yaya were unfortunate,” said Pellegrini. “Because I spoke with Yaya, I know how I appreciate him as a person, as a player. I think he is a very good player. In the moment that we were doing our squad list, that position was covered by other players. We need money to bring in other positions, so I explained to Yaya clearly why he cannot come here but I hope he will find a good and big club because he is a very good player,” he added.
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