I’m assuming most have experienced the miserable feeling of waiting on an old gas-guzzling car to finally start on a cold winter morning. Now imagine paying £220,000 a week to maintain a car that takes 30 minutes for the heater to warm the car, which is a ludicrous idea for anyone who hasn’t found massive oil reserves in their backyard. Oddly enough, Manchester City are doing just that with their prized, yet over-rated, center-midfielder Yaya Touré.
For years Yaya Touré has been considered a player that can control virtually any mid-field in the world, but if you look a little beyond the goals stat on the match facts you’ll find something quite puzzling. According to Squawka, Touré only has a 25% success rate on tackles in the center of the park, and despite the fact that he stands 6′ 2″ tall he is only winning 44% of headed duels with his opponents this season. These statistics appear far from elite when you look at the stats of similar players, such as Paul Pogba who at around the same height has won 62% of his aerial battles and 41% on the ground. Diving deeper into the stat sheets Yaya’s distance covered is on par with many of his teammates, but if you look at his sprints per 90 minutes average, he is only averaging 26 sprints per match as reported by Sky. However, his teammate Fabian Delph, from a similar position, is averaging 79 sprints per match.
Yaya Touré has been a consistent centerpiece of Manuel Pellegrini’s midfield throughout the last several seasons, playing a huge role in their recent title runs, but the now 32 year old is just a mere shadow of his former self. With Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola set to take over for Pellegrini this summer, one has to wonder how much longer Yaya will feature in Manchester City’s midfield. Considering Guardiola’s love of central midfielders with high workrates, like current Bayern player Arturo Vidal, players like Fabian Delph will likely get the selection over the sluggish Touré on most match days. Guardiola-managed teams have also been known to come out of the gates quickly, something that does not seem possible for the Ivorian who has scored the majority of his goals late in games this season.
From a spectator’s viewpoint he has looked uninterested at times, evidenced by him walking back on defense, which on several occasions has left the Citizen’s back line under fire. How many times have we seen Touré, nearly invisible the whole match, only to swing his leg in the 85th minute to score a beauty from outside the box?
His place has become even more in question by the pending availability of up and coming world superstars like the young Paul Pogba. Yaya’s sensational goals are enough to keep fans singing his name at the moment, but you have to wonder how much longer you’ll be hearing chants for him at the Etihad. If Yaya Touré departs the club this summer it certainly won’t be because someone forgot to buy him a birthday cake.