Yaya Toure has reportedly opened the door to join a rival side in the Premier League if he is told he is not wanted by Manchester City at the end of the season.
The Ivorian midfielder will be 33 in May and has one year left on his contract, with clubs in China, the Middle East, as well as Inter Milan – managed by former Blues boss Roberto Mancini – all reportedly interested.
But Toure is anxious to stay in the Premier League – although City know selling to a direct rival would be a major risk as he could come back to haunt them.
A source close to the player is quoted by the Daily Mirror: “Yaya and the family are very happy in the UK, they enjoy living here and see no reason to change.
“Also, Yaya has extended family here including brothers [elder sibling Kolo plays for Liverpool] and sisters.”
The paper understands the Ivorian is open to working with Pep Guardiola when the Bayern Munich manager takes over at City in the summer, and that the pair have no problem, while our article at the weekend urged the incoming City boss to consider working with Toure next season.
Last season, Toure and Guardiola embraced after City’s Champions League defeat by Bayern in Germany, leading to some criticism at the time from the Manchester club’s fans on social media.
Guardiola was Toure’s coach at Barcelona when he was allowed to leave the Nou Camp to join City in 2010.
But the former Barca boss has reportedly signalled his intent to work with the midfielder again and believes he can get the best out of him.
Toure has enjoyed huge success at City, winning two league titles and both domestic cups, has a strong relationship with the fans and loves English football.
City’s form has suffered when he has been out injured – he has recently had a heel problem – and he is still hugely influential at the Etihad.
Guardiola is likely to rebuild his squad this summer as he targets players all over the pitch to suit his own style and will be given big funds to sign world class stars.
It is unlikely he will see Toure as a player he wants to sell and replace.